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Project failure 'could breed scepticism', says ICE

The government needs to make sure that projects and funding announced Wednesday materialises or risk breeding further scepticism within the industry, according to the Institution of Civil Engineers.

“Clearly government has heeded the advice of many across the industry to increase capital expenditure on infrastructure and get ‘shovel ready’ road schemes moving - demonstrating to investors that the national infrastructure plan is leading to visible activity,” said Director General Nick Baveystock.

“The danger however, as with the £5bn capital boost announced this time last year, is that this will fail to materialise and breed further scepticism. The Highways Agency will have a crucial role to play here, accelerating the delivery of the schemes while still ensuring they deliver value for money.

“Progressing short term projects to stimulate jobs and growth is vital, but it is important to remember that the NIP was intended as a long term plan, with 70% of investment to come from the private sector.

“We’ve seen a raft of potentially useful initiatives to help facilitate that - around pensions, planning, guarantees, ownership and funding arrangements and we also now have a pipeline of future projects. We in the industry need to keep a close eye on how these initiatives are progressing and be ready to work with government to propose new ideas if they aren’t working.

“I’m therefore pleased that Paul Deighton’s first duty as a Treasury Minister will be to be produce an assessment of Whitehall’s ability to deliver infrastructure and look forward to contributing to this review.”

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