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Report (3rd Day)

Part of Infrastructure Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 8:30 pm on 10th November 2014.

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Photo of Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts Conservative 8:30 pm, 10th November 2014

I think I answered it by saying that the reason given for opposing a fund at this stage is that nobody knows quite how much money is going to flow. No one can know. I pointed out that if you do not get something in principle in place now, once the revenue starts to flow, the chances of having a sovereign wealth fund are very low. If we do not get a peg in the board now, when revenue starts to flow there will be a million reasons as to why it should not be put in place at that stage.

I was most encouraged by the remarks of the Chancellor of the Exchequer over the weekend about the advantages that a sovereign wealth fund would bring. I hope that my noble friend will put some flesh on these bones when he winds up. The very last word must rest with Jens Stoltenberg, the then Prime Minister of Norway. In September 2013, at the John F Kennedy School of Government, he said:

“The problem in Europe with the deficits and the debt crisis is that many European countries have spent money they don’t have. The problem in Norway is that we don’t spend money we do have”.

He went on to say that to achieve this happy state of affairs needs actions to be taken that require “political courage”. It is that political courage that I am looking for from the Minister tonight. I beg to move.