Bosses sceptical over infrastructure promises

Grant Prior 12 years ago
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Business leaders are worried that Government plans for new infrastructure spending are moving far too slowly.

A new CBI/KPMG survey, Better connected, better business, showed that nearly three-quarters of firms do not expect to see any improvement in transport infrastructure during the next five years.

And two-thirds of businesses fear the UK’s energy and water infrastructure is unlikely to get any better during the same period.

The CBI is now calling on Government to speed-up its plans

Director General John Cridland said: “The Government has shown it gets how important infrastructure is to the economy. It has put the framework in place but needs to show it can deliver on the ground.

“The new UK Guarantees are seen as positive by businesses, but firms fear initiative overload and are becoming impatient with delivery, leaving many companies still sceptical about the overall impact on investment.

“Whether it’s aviation capacity, electricity markets or funding our roads, the Government needs to take some big decisions which will have a major, lasting impact on inward investment and businesses’ ability to compete overseas.”

Richard Threlfall, KPMG UK Head of Infrastructure, Building and Construction, said: “Actions speak louder than words, is the clear message of this year’s CBI/KPMG infrastructure survey.

“Business confidence in our infrastructure appears to be ebbing away. The key issue is how quickly can recent policy announcements translate into investment on the ground.

“Everyone understands that the Government is constrained financially. But the right government interventions will encourage the private sector to invest.

“The launch of the UK Guarantee programme is welcome but it now needs to be implemented quickly.

“House building offers the fastest-acting pain relief for our economic headache. In addition, we need to re-introduce tax relief for investment in buildings and structures.

“The need for investment is enormous and individual schemes can be controversial. Delay is often attractive. But only by investing today will we create jobs, drive growth and remain competitive in the global economy. Now is the time to act.”

Greg Michael, Strategy and Business Development Director at May Gurney said: “At times it feels as though the emphasis for infrastructure investment in the UK focuses on all the reasons not to undertake a project and few of the reasons we should; with job creation, business growth and better services for local communities top of that list.

“With local authorities struggling to maintain services in the face of 28 per cent spending cuts, new streams of funding for infrastructure improvements are essential. We agree with the CBI that action is now needed, not more talk.”

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