The quality of infrastructure is a key deciding factor when firms plan their investment strategies, according to a national survey by the CBI and AECOM.
The 2015 CBI/AECOM Infrastructure Survey is based on a poll of 722 firms with active investment portfolios. It suggests almost all (94%) see infrastructure as crucial when making financial decisions.
There are currently infrastructure projects worth £411bn awaiting delivery in the UK. These include a new runway in the South East (important to 91% of firms), upgrades to the rail network (45% of firms want spending increased), and investment in a diverse, secure energy mix (vital to 97% of firms).
The good news is that optimism about the government and affiliated agencies’ ability to complete these projects in a timely manner is on the rise. Only 23% of respondents believe the UK’s infrastructure is deteriorating, compared to 43% of business who see it as on an upward curve.
And the majority (61%) believe devolution will improve the delivery of local projects. This figure rises to 73% among English firms.
CBI director-general John Cridland warned that the “arteries of modern Britain are working overtime”.
“Whether it’s our creaking railways, clogged roads, and crowded runways, or our digital links and the energy to power them struggling to keep up, businesses now want the government to deliver the large scale upgrades that it has made ambitious strides towards,” he continued.
“The quality of infrastructure is a key factor in firms’ investment decisions, so businesses, communities and the whole country simply can’t afford the cost of inaction.”
Richard Robinson, chief executive – Civil Infrastructure, Europe, Middle East, India and Africa at AECOM, added that “political procrastination over infrastructure threatens economic growth and jeopardises investment”.
“When infrastructure decisions are deferred, business takes the hit. The challenge for Government is to build business confidence, fostering a financial and operational climate that accelerates delivery,” he said.
“Industry needs the Government to maintain a clear and consistent vision, and to have the courage to make politically charged decisions when they are in the long-term interests of the country. Delays and never-ending reviews of vital infrastructure stall progress and help nobody.”