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Strategy still lacking for UK infrastructure investment

Businesses have called on the government to produce a clear infrastructure strategy in order to boost international investment, research from the CBI and KPMG says.

The need for a detailed strategy remains the number one priority to improve funding of construction projects in the infrastructure sector, nearly a year after the government produced a planning document on the subject, the survey of business leaders found.

Although the CBI welcomed the publication of the National Infrastructure Plan in October last year, its research shows concerns remain. “The lack of detailed vision for the roll-out of major government-led projects…risks undermining private sector confidence in the UK as a place to invest in infrastructure,” it said.

The government’s plan said the UK requires £200 billion infrastructure investment over five years. Seventy per cent of the finance needs to come from the private sector, making the confidence of international investors in the UK market essential to the spending pipeline in the construction industry. However, the CBI research shows only 26 per cent of business leaders saw the UK as a favourable destination for infrastructure investment.

This “underlines the importance of further detail being provided on the government’s National Infrastructure Plan, which is expected in the autumn 2011”, the CBI report said.

The survey of 477 respondents from businesses of all sizes, including investors in, providers and users of infrastructure, also found that tackling cost and delays in the planning system was the second highest priority in improving the infrastructure delivery.

The CBI has formed an Infrastructure Board, chaired by Mark Elborne, president and CEO of GE UK. Members include John Stanion, CEO and chairman of Vinci PLC, and Terry Hill, chairman, global transport markets, Arup.

John Cridland, CBI director-general, said: “I’ve asked the Board to produce a compelling new framework for the speedy delivery of resilient, smarter infrastructure, which will help restore the UK’s competitive advantage.”

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