Money

David Cameron put in charge of a £1bn fund to build better roads – in China

Former PM David Cameron has been charged with leading a $1bn (£750m) government-backed fund to boost transport infrastructure between China and its trading partners.

Announced as part of Chancellor Philip Hammond's two-day visit to China, the new element of the "Belt and Road Initiative" will create jobs and boost trade links, ministers said.

The initiative was first rolled out in 2013 but China President Xi Jinping has ramped up the scheme, pledging $124bn of new money across the wider scheme this year.

Cameron will help shepherd a number of UK and Chinese institutional investors, with the fund operated in "on a commercial and market-orientated basis".

"It will invest in innovative, sustainable and consumption-driven growth opportunities in the UK, China and third markets to create employment and boost trade links, supporting the Belt and Road Initiative," the government said.

Read more: Hammond: UK is not looking for a "Canada" style Brexit trade deal

Cameron has kept a comparatively low profile since resigning as prime minister last June in the wake of the Brexit vote. In January he was unveiled as the new president of Alzheimer Research UK, while in October he took on his first private sector job – joining the board of US payments technology firm First Data.

Some £1.4bn of commercial deals were agreed during the 9th UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue.

Included was an agreement to speed up the final preparations for London and Shanghai stock exchanges to be connected. And separate from Cameron's fund, UK businesses operating along the Belt and Road in Asia are in line for up to £25bn in financial support – such as loan guarantees – following the latest talks.

"We’re putting export finance at the heart of trade promotion by making up to £25 billion available for projects in these markets," said minister for investment Mark Garnier.

"The capacity will ensure that no viable company fails for a lack of funding and means they can take advantage of growing economies and secure deals that will boost the UK’s exports and safeguard jobs at home."

Read more: The Square Mile has the UK's least potholey roads, it turns out

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