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Sun June 13 2021

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Business lobby makes case for more infrastructure action

16 Sep 13 Nearly three-quarters of Britain’s business bosses expect no improvement in transport infrastructure over the next five years.

Jam today, jam tomorrow
Jam today, jam tomorrow

According to a CBI survey, they have little faith that government promises on infrastructure will translate into real improvement on the ground.

The survey of 526 business leaders was carried out by accountants KPMG to support the lobbying efforts of the Confederation of British Industry. It is the third annual CBI/KPMG infrastructure survey.

Only 35% of businesses think government can make any difference to infrastructure, the report says.

Businesses have become more sceptical about the prospects of improvement in energy infrastructure, with the balance between those with negative expectations relative to positive ones widening from -34% in 2012 to -54% in 2013.

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In fact, since 2012 energy has overtaken transport as the biggest concern for businesses. More than three quarters (77%) of respondents report that they are not confident of improvements in energy infrastructure over the next five years (rising to 86% for manufacturing companies).

CBI director-general John Cridland said: “The faltering speed of delivery on infrastructure creates a worrying sense that politicians lack the political will to tackle some of the major issues head-on.  We can’t afford any further delay. The coalition must show strong leadership and prove that the UK can deliver on a small number of projects over the next 18 months and reach a much-needed consensus on bigger issues such as aviation and roads reform.”

KPMG partner Richard Threlfall said: “Sadly the business verdict remains that UK infrastructure is not up to scratch. It is disappointing to hear businesses report once again a sense of more rhetoric than action. Of particular concern is growing dissatisfaction with links between our regions, and the 73% of respondents who believe our local road network continues to deteriorate.

“Overlaid on this is the fear amongst businesses that too many critical investment decisions are being pushed back to beyond the next election. Our businesses are competing each day, every day in the global market, and we need to be investing now in building great infrastructure that is a help not a hindrance to our entrepreneurial efforts. We know what good looks like – we need to get on and build it.”

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