Richard Threlfall, UK Head of Building, Infrastructure and Construction comments on the “Growth Factory”, a report which was published today and explores 30 ideas to re-balance our economy and create growth:
“It’s not a big surprise that the authors of the ‘Growth Factory’ list the need for a new runway in the southeast and the commitment to the extension of high speed rail on top of their list of ideas.
“Investment into infrastructure needs to be a priority if we want to kick start growth. It would also give a boost to the construction industry which employs about 2 million people in the UK and represents 10% of GDP. Economists estimate that every pound we spend on construction delivers about 3 pounds of economic growth. If we get the construction industry moving again the effects will ripple through the rest of the economy.
“The modernization of the nation’s ailing infrastructure, especially in the energy and transport sector, is also key to secure the UK’s long-term competitiveness. The need for investment is enormous. 70% of the UK’s infrastructure is already privately procured. The UK government needs to put a framework into place which encourages the private sector to invest even more. It needs to set up an Infrastructure Bank, similar to the European Investment Bank which could lend low cost, and long-term.
“It needs to develop the current National Infrastructure Plan into a strategic vision for the infrastructure development of the UK over the next 50 years to ensure our economic competitiveness in a rapidly changing world.
“It needs to put in place tax relief for infrastructure investment; at the moment the UK is the only country among the G20 nations that does not make such allowances.
“There is also a strong case for a Minister for Infrastructure (other countries such as Australia and France have one) because at the moment grassroots responsibility for infrastructure planning and provision remains scattered across central Government departments, their agencies and local Government.
“The Government needs to demonstrate bold leadership and clear strategic direction. Then the UK itself will get the UK moving again and short term economic growth and long-term international competitiveness will follow.”
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