Construction sector says coalition must take measures to encourage investment in major projects

Construction site

The industry has hit out at the government’s failure to kick-start investment in infrastructure despite consistent pledges to boost the sector since coming into office in 2010.

Launching a roadmap for encouraging institutional investment in infrastructure construction, John Cridland, director general of the Confederation of British Industry, said he was encouraged by the strategy from ministers, “but six months on, progress has been slow.”

Speaking after the event in London last week, Dr Darryl Murphy, partner for global infrastructure at KPMG, said the industry was “frustrated”. “Everyone’s frustration with the autumn statement and even the National Infrastructure Plan is that we’ve waited a year to move to somewhere we should have got to a year before.”

The comments came after the prime minister told the Treasury to consider using government guarantees to de-risk elements of construction schemes in order to make it possible to raise private finance from risk-averse institutions.

The government is exploring the method, which could see projects funded without adding to the national debt, despite chancellor George Osborne having hit out at PFI funding for being “off-balance sheet” before the election.

James Stewart, chairman of global infrastructure at KPMG, and former head of the Treasury’s infrastructure unit Infrastructure UK, said: “What’s frustrating the market is too much talk, but not enough tangible work coming out of it.”