Only one in five firms polled for the annual Aecom and CBI Infrastructure Survey are satisfied with the pace of infrastructure delivery in the UK.
No change is expected in the next few years either with almost three quarters of firms expecting no improvement in infrastructure during the current parliament.
For the first time the public were surveyed and opinions closely matched at of industry with only just over a quarter satisfied with pace of delivery and just over three quarters expecting no change improvements in infrastructure this parliament.
“We’ve seen a real commitment from the Government on infrastructure over the last year, from decisions on Heathrow and the A303 to pledges to scale up the supply of housing and clean energy. But our survey shows this is not translating into optimism about future improvements among both firms and the public, who are united in their concern about the pace of delivery for new projects. We’ve now reached crunch time for the UK’s infrastructure.
“As the foundation for wider growth, world-class infrastructure is fundamental in driving productivity, and helps create jobs and raise living standards,” said CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn. “Our message is as clear as it is simple – this is no time for discussion and delays, it’s time for delivery. This needs to be heard not just by Westminster, but by local and devolved governments, as making progress on smaller, local projects is just as important as the bigger projects. Firms will not be forgiving if this focus slips.
“With continuing uncertainty over Brexit, it is all the more important the government delivers quality infrastructure as a key pillar of a modern and effective Industrial Strategy, from excellent quality gateways to the world to a funding framework that gives investors the sustained confidence they need. It is a vital lever for spreading prosperity across the whole of the UK.
“These findings must not be confused with pessimism though. Businesses have been unambiguous about what needs to happen, from delivering on the current road and rail pipelines to putting in place an urgent long-term energy plan and making housing a top priority. Firms are keen to work shoulder to shoulder with the government, bringing their construction and funding capability, innovation and agility to the table, enabling the UK to face the future with confidence.”
Aecom chief executive for civil infrastructure in Europe, Middle East, India and Africa Richard Robinson added: “Given the strong correlation between infrastructure investment and economic growth, it is hardly surprising that when infrastructure decisions are delayed, it is UK business that feels the pain.
“Transformational infrastructure necessitates bold decisions and strong vision. The next five years present a huge opportunity for the government to set in train a lasting legacy for future generations. The link between transport and long-term plans for other vital infrastructure such as energy, water, waste and housing must also be considered. A clear vision for integration will be essential to accommodate the UK’s projected population growth and maintain economic prosperity.”