Construction industry trade bodies have welcomed Prime Minister David Cameron's comments on major infrastructure projects, in his speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham yesterday.
He said: “We are acting to build a more entrepreneurial economy. A new Green Investment Bank, so the technologies of the future are developed, jobs created and our environment protected. Big infrastructure projects like high speed rail, super-fast broadband, carbon capture and storage. A £1bn regional growth fund to stimulate enterprise in those areas where the private sector is weak.”
A recent survey conducted by the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) and the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) showed that two in three firms believe further cuts in transport infrastructure investment will damage their prospects over the next three years.
Rosemary Beales, CECA national director, said: “It is good to hear the Prime Minister acknowledge how vital infrastructure is in terms of business support. We hope he is setting the tone for how the government will handle investment in roads and rail over the coming three years, which is a crucial period for the economy and one in which the Government is looking to the private sector to power the recovery.
“We accept the need to get the public finances in good order, but as our survey showed, business of all kinds and sizes depend on access to good road and rail links to sustain productivity and provide growth. Infrastructure will play its part in the spending cuts but it must also be allowed to play its part in the recovery.”
Nelson Ogunshakin, ACE chief executive, said: “The warning for government is that, without investment, problems in transport infrastructure will hold back the recovery. Congested roads and clogged railways are increasing business costs now and, if left unaddressed, those costs will do nothing but increase at a time when the UK economy needs businesses to grow and invest.”