CECA issues demands ahead of expected 2024 election

Major parties should ‘fix’ major infrastructure investments for an 18-month period before and after elections to ensure market certainty, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) has urged. 

The suggestion was among numerous pre-election asks set out by the organisation, which also recommended that purdah guidance be revised to allow key project decisions to be taken during the period immediately before an election as long as they are not publicised. 

Artists impression of an HS2 train

CECA wants the next government to revive full plans for HS2

During the period between an election being announced and a new government being formed, known as purdah, civil servants are given special guidance on rules they must follow in relation to government business, which typically involves restrictions on major announcements. 

CECA also called on the incoming Westminster government to reinstate plans for the delivery of HS2 in full and accelerate delivery of Northern Powerhouse Rail and the TransPennine Route. 

Last week, the Observer reported that it was very unlikely that any land associated with HS2 would be sold before a general election, opening up the possibility of the project being revived by a future government.

It also advised the next government to publish a high-level English Transport Strategy which supports regional transport bodies, including Transport for London, integrating with devolved nations and delivering firm five-year capital settlements complemented with indicative five-year funding. 

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CECA director Marie-Claude Hemming said the priorities outlined should “form the basis of an incoming UK government”, whichever party wins the general election expected this year. 

She said “stability, certainty, and pipeline visibility” were key to returning the economic to “dynamic growth” after the impacts of Covid-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

“We are calling on all parties to adopt these policies to ensure the UK is set on a more sustainable and prosperous future through the delivery of world-class infrastructure,” she added.