Confederation of British Industry report suggests government needs private investment for developing infrastructure

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has published a report into the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) in relation to public sector projects, suggesting the government needs private investment in order to develop the country’s infrastructure.

The organisation, whose report Building Strong Foundations: Financing UK Infrastructure was released today, said it felt PFI was sometimes the best value-for-money option when financing the construction of infrastructure such as new roads, hospitals and schools. It said the country must have an “improved infrastructure” if it’s to “ensure we don’t fall behind our competitors”. With public budgets constrained, it said it felt PFI should not be dismissed.

Neil Bentley, the director-general of CBI, said: “It is clear the government will need to rely on private finance to provide much of the investment that is needed.”

The report proposed a series of measures for PFI projects, including guidelines that construction firms should work alongside the government to produce standardised designs for infrastructure and suggestions that clear timescales for development should be laid out before projects begin.

Speaking of the Treasury’s Select Committee report, published on 19 August, the CBI said it felt the government had been “right” to look at the levels of PFI used in public sector development and it must “learn from its mistakes”.