Procurement · 25 October 2017

Businesses reveal widespread dissatisfaction with pace of UK infrastructure delivery

Just 20 per cent of firms is satisfied with current infrastructure delivery
Just 20 per cent of firms is satisfied with current infrastructure delivery

Only one in five businesses is happy with the current pace of delivery of vital UK infrastructure projects, new research from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has shown.

A mere 20 per cent of business owners is satisfied with current levels of infrastructure delivery, whilst 74 per cent doubt that the government will make improvements to UK infrastructure during this parliament.

A survey carried out by the CBI has revealed a widespread lack of confidence amongst UK firms in the government’s ability to deliver vital infrastructure projects, like the Clean Growth Strategy and the UK-wide infrastructure investment plan.

Some 94 per cent of business owners attribute this lack of confidence to the inconsistency of central government infrastructure policy, while 86 per cent also acknowledged the role that perceived political risk was having on the confidence of small business owners.

The UK’s digital sector proved to be the exception to the rule. Some 59 per cent of digital firms admitted to being confident that the government could deliver its commitments on digital infrastructure in the next year.

The CBI’s survey of more than 700 businesses also tracked the satisfaction of owners with the progress of regional infrastructure projects as opposed to national projects.

Overall, business’s dissatisfaction with infrastructure in their area has gone up in the last 12 months. Some 54 per cent of firms claimed to be dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with local infrastructure – an eight per cent increase since 2016.

Commenting on the findings, CBI director general said that the government’s pledges to improve UK infrastructure had not translated into optimism amongst businesses. She added: “Both firms and the public are united in their concern about the pace of delivery for new projects.

“We’ve now reached crunch time for UK infrastructure. With continuing uncertainty over Brexit, it’s all the more important the government delivers quality UK infrastructure as a key pillar of a modern and effective industrial strategy.

“As the foundation for wider growth, world-class infrastructure is fundamental in driving productivity, and helps create jobs and raise living standards.

“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.”

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.

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