Gas-rich state already owns a string of UK assets including Harrods and the Shard
Qatar is in talks with the UK government to invest up to GBP£10bn (US$15bn) into key infrastructure projects, London's the Financial Times reported, citing people involved in the negotiations.
Officials and ministers from both countries have held discussions over what schemes the Qataris could invest in and whether a specific fund could be set up, the newspaper said.
Potential projects include energy plants, road and rail projects and the Thames 'super-sewer' under London. Specific schemes discussed include a new GBP£14bn nuclear reactor in Somerset.
A timeline for the investment has not yet been agreed, added the report.
Gas-rich Qatar has snapped up a string of British assets in recent years including 80 percent of Western Europe’s tallest building, The Shard, Harrods and the US embassy building. The Gulf state is also funding the redevelopment of the GBP£3bn Chelsea Barracks housing project.
Britain’s former Under Secretary of State for Transport, told Arabian Business last year that the UK would welcome further infrastructure tie-ups with the Gulf following port company DP World’s multibillion-dollar investment in the London Gateway project.
Investment in aviation and roads infrastructure would be not only help shoulder the burden of funding but would help to boost confidence in the UK economy, Mike Penning said.
“We are looking for investment. The more joint partnerships and the more outside investment people see coming into the UK, the more confidence there is in the UK economy… If banks are not willing to lend and invest then people ask why they should invest,” he said.
“Transport is an obvious [area for investment], as an example, our motorway infrastructure. These are difficult times in the UK; I’ve got a budget but not an enormous budget.”