Government to sell Eurostar stake in £66bn infrastructure funding drive

The government has unveiled plans to fund an additional £66bn worth of infrastructure projects, which will be part financed by the sale of its stake in Eurostar.

The government will sell its 40% stake in the international rail service, in a privatisation drive that is expected to be worth about £20bn in financial and corporate assets over the next six years.

The announcement, ahead of tomorrow’s Autumn Statement, is part of the new National Infrastructure Plan (NIP), which sets out plans for over £375bn of planned public and private major investments over the next two decades.

The plans were given a boost by major insurance firms, which have pledged to spend a combined £25bn on infrastructure projects in the UK over the next five years.

Treasury chief secretary Danny Alexander will unveil the NIP today, alongside commercial secretary and former London Olympics chief Lord Deighton.

Alexander will say: “The announcement today that six major insurers will invest £25bn over the next five years is a massive vote of confidence in the UK economy.

“It supports the wider £100bn public investment to rebuild Britain over the next seven years that I announced at the Spending Round 2013. Underground, overground, onshore, offshore, wired or wireless, tarmac or train track. You name it, we’re building it right now.”

Association of British Insurers director general Otto Thoresen said: “Insurers have a key role to play in contributing to the UK’s economic growth, as providers of long-term capital investment. Providing capital for infrastructure projects will help drive a competitive, healthy and resilient UK economy.”

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