By Claire West
The Prime Minister will today announce the publication of the UK’s first ever infrastructure plan, identifying the scale of the infrastructure challenge and the major economic investment that is needed to underpin sustainable growth in the UK over the coming decades.
Mr Cameron will tell the Confederation of British Industry Conference:
“I can announce today the UK’s first ever national infrastructure plan setting out the infrastructure Britain needs and how we will unlock some £200 billion worth of public and private sector investment over the next five years to deliver it.
“This is incredibly exciting, and it shows how, together, we can help create the right framework for growth in which British business can thrive and compete with the rest of the world.”
The immediate challenge is to rebuild the economy, creating the conditions for enterprise to flourish based on an expansion of the private sector. The economy has been too reliant on growth from a limited number of sectors and regions. The infrastructure investment programme will help rebalance the economy and give industries the right conditions in which to grow.
In launching the Plan, Lord Sassoon, Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, said:
“Today’s plan represents a broad vision of the infrastructure investment we need to underpin the UK’s growth and retain our competitiveness.
“For the economy to flourish, people, goods and information must move freely. Reliable infrastructure: energy, water, transport, digital communications and waste disposal networks and facilities, are essential to achieve this. Ensuring these networks are integrated and resilient is vital.
“We recognise the scale of the challenge and the need to encourage new sources of private sector capital. We are targeting Government’s own investment at a series of bold and critical projects that go to the heart of this vision and support a private sector led recovery.”
In the Spending Review the Government has committed over £40 billion to infrastructure projects. The plan includes:
• Investing in a new low carbon economy — including a Green Investment Bank, up to £1 billion for one of the world’s first commercial scale carbon capture and storage demonstration projects, and the provision of grants to increase the uptake of electric vehicles;
• Providing the best superfast broadband in Europe by 2015 — a total of £530 million of investment over the Spending Review period;
• Investing £30 billion in transport — including a high speed rail network, Crossrail, over £10 billion for maintenance and investment in key road and local transport schemes across the country and £14 billion of funding to Network Rail to support maintenance and investment.
• Ensuring that the UK remains a world leader in science and research by continuing support for the highest value scientific research by maintaining a science budget of £4.6 billion, and £220 million of capital investment in the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation and £69 million in the Diamond Synchrotron.
Lord Sassoon continued:
“The role of the Government is clear. It is to specify what infrastructure we need, identify the key barriers to achieving that investment and to mobilise the resources, both public and private, to make it happen.”
Paul Skinner, Chairman of Infrastructure UK, said:
“Infrastructure UK will play an active role in driving forward this agenda across Government. This initial phase of Infrastructure UK’s work has validated the proposition that infrastructure development can be an important driver of the UK’s future growth and competitiveness and that there is real value in taking an integrated, cross-sector approach“.
The Spending Review confirmed that it would prioritise economic infrastructure that supports growth, the transition to a low carbon economy and encourage private sector investment in infrastructure.