By Richard Threlfall, KPMG’s UK Head of Infrastructure
In order to create growth and drive long-term competitiveness the UK requires huge investments now in its housing, transport networks, and energy infrastructure.
The Government’s heart is in the right place. But time is running out for it to translate words into action. Around 65% of the UK’s infrastructure is privately financed but we won’t unlock new development spend from the private sector without a consistency in message and action from the Government, to build confidence amongst developers and investors.
In recent weeks confidence in the UK’s infrastructure community has been knocked by three decisions that seem at odds with the Government’s commitment to invest in infrastructure to drive growth and its commitment to encourage private investment in infrastructure.
We have seen in short succession the cancellation of Waste Infrastructure Credits for three waste-to-energy schemes that have already been years in procurement, the decision to cancel the use of private finance in the procurement of trains for Crossrail, and a further delay to the Government’s overdue announcement on its review of the strategic road network.
We look to the Chancellor to use the Budget to get the infrastructure story back on track.
We need a long-term vision from the Government for the development of our infrastructure networks, that can endure across electoral cycles.
The Government should also launch a formal consultation on re-introducing tax relief for investment in buildings and infrastructure. The UK is currently at a competitive disadvantage as the only G20 country which fails to provide this investment incentive.
The request of Government is for bold leadership and action now to get industry confidence back. Then industry will invest to get the UK moving again and short term economic growth and long-term international competitiveness will follow.
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