Lack of investment could have ’serious impacts’ on economy, says Business Infrastructure Commission

The future of the UK’s economy is at risk of “serious impacts” if there is a lack of infrastructure investment according to a report by the Business Infrastructure Commission.

The report, called Tackling the Infrastructure Puzzle, says improvements to transport and energy could boost the economy by £10bn a year.

Management from Virgin Rail and Alstom partly make up the BIC which was established by the British Chambers of Commerce to offer a business perspective on UK infrastructure.

Some of the key features of the BIC report include:

  • Developing a 10-40 year National Infrastructure Plan to give confidence to investors and providers.
  • Urging the cabinet secretary to complete a review of infrastructure procurement to drive down complexity, over specification and unnecessary costs.
  • Speeding up the planning process on major infrastructure projects and encouraging the cost effective use of Planning Performance Agreements.
  • Extending the regulated asset base model to additional infrastructure sectors and networks in need of long-term investment.

Professor David Begg, who chaired the commission, said “the UK has one of the most heavily used infrastructure networks in the developed world.

“Increased levels of investment from both government and critically from the private sector must also be matched by a long-term infrastructure strategy.

“This has to include a focus on how we develop a skilled workforce to deliver these projects, an overhaul of how we procure and build new publicly funded infrastructure, and a planning system that is fit for purpose.”

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association “strongly welcomed” the BIC report.

Alasdair Reisner, director of external affairs for CECA, commented: “That this report comes from the very businesses the government expects to lead a return to growth should make it impossible to ignore.

“This report also vindicates the approach CECA and other bodies have taken over the past year to emphasise the importance of infrastructure to any economic recovery, and the need for new practices and sources of investment to keep delivering infrastructure while government finances remain uncertain.