The CBI has said that the Government needs to design and put forward a full and coherent plan that improves the infrastructure across the UK. Without such plan, many towns could get left behind as other towns excel.
The UK has invested heavily in infrastructure over the last few years with record levels of investment into projects such as Crossrail with commitment to other projects such as a third runway at Heathrow and the ambitious HS2 plan.
Sub-national Transport bodies (known as STB’s) now also exist as a way of local areas being able to voice their key priorities for infrastructure in their own area.
A new report from the CBI however suggests that the complexity of decision making and lack of clear transparency around investment decisions is putting turning plans into action at risk across England. In turn, this makes it harder for fleet operators to deliver goods around the country effectively with the promise of better connectivity at risk.
To counteract this, there is a calling for:
– A commitment in the upcoming spending review to increase transport investment in local areas and consolidate the number of smaller local spending pots.
– Increased emphasis on future economic potential in the Governments infrastructure decision making.
– Increased number of STB’s so that all parts of the country are covered and represented.
– A framework from the Government enabling regions and local leaders to make the most of the opportunities of devolution.
– A Whitehall based Infrastructure Committee that will better coordinate infrastructure planning, decision making and delivery across all areas and departments.
Matthew Fell, CBI chief UK policy director, said: “High quality and reliable infrastructure keeps the economy moving, drives growth in our regions, and has a greater impact on productivity than anything else. That is when it works, and when it is there.
“Unfortunately, England’s infrastructure is a patchwork quilt. It takes longer to get from Liverpool to Hull by train than from London to Paris.
“Firms have identified the most important projects across the country, but uncertainty and complexity on infrastructure decision making is blocking progress, deterring investors and holding back our regions from fully realising their incredible potential.
“To set all regions up for success, we need a policy environment that turns plans into action. Increasing the funding allocated to local infrastructure in the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review, and having fewer, more impactful spending pots would put genuine power in the hands of local leaders.
“And, where it’s the Government that holds the purse strings on projects, there must be a clearer link between regional growth and decisions that are taken, with STBs making the case for all areas. If not, we risk some regions accelerating ahead of others, creating a two-speed England.
“As we focus on being an outward-looking, trading nation, we need world-beating regional infrastructure that unlocks productivity and makes us the envy of our competitors. Business and transport organisations will be the first to work with the Government to achieve this.”
A better connected UK will also help fleets reduce their costs. You can also reduce fleet costs by using us to Compare Fleet Insurance.