The Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) has today published a major new series of recommendations to solve the UK’s infrastructure crisis.
Infrastructure: the Routemap for Growth is a detailed set of policy proposals developed in close consultation with CECA’s members, on how the civil engineering sector can help restore the health of the UK economy.
Infrastructure is essential to a functioning society and economy, and yet Britain’s infrastructure has historically lagged behind other developed economies – the UK was listed just 28th in the world for overall infrastructure quality by the World Economic Forum last year.
It is estimated that £200bn is needed to bring our energy, water, digital communications and waste infrastructure up to date. Such investment has a stronger positive effect on GDP per capita than other forms of spending. For every pound spent on construction, our economy benefits to the tune of £2.84, with even higher returns on infrastructure projects.
The government has rightly placed infrastructure at the heart of its growth strategy. And yet recent research by CECA highlights a looming ‘infrastructure crunch’, with a double-dip recession in the industry.
The report’s headline recommendations to government are to:
- Develop cross-party consensus on nationally-significant infrastructure policy and a long-term delivery programme
- Rebalance infrastructure investment across the UK
- Ensure appropriate finance and funding models are in place to meet future investment needs
- Provide immediate short-term funding to boost shovel-ready repair and maintenance activity
Commenting on the report, CECA director of external affairs Alasdair Reisner said:
"Our members have told us the steps that government can and should take now to get the economy back on track and return UK plc to growth.
"Governments in Westminster, Holyrood and Cardiff have all published plans which recognise the importance of infrastructure to the economy, and have begun to prepare the ground for long-term investor confidence. Infrastructure: the Routemap for Growth sets out the steps that must be taken to ensure these plans are delivered.
"Too often the overriding need for infrastructure is blocked by short-term politics. We want to see all sides recognise the vital need to improve the UK’s transport and utility networks should rise above party politics.
"We also want to see future investment in infrastructure more evenly balanced across the UK, helping to rebuild local economies throughout the country. To do this, we will need to attract new forms of funding and finance, something that can only be achieved with appropriate models in place.
"Finally, where there are opportunities to deliver more direct boosts to growth and industry activity these must be grasped. CECA is asking the government to direct new resources through existing infrastructure repair and maintenance contracts to provide an immediate shot in the arm to the economy without delay."