UK infrastructure is "not up to scratch" says the CBI and is in need of a wave of investment from the government (Reuters)
Britain's biggest business lobbyist, the Confederation of British Industry, is calling on the government to boost infrastructure investment after a survey of its members revealed the overwhelming majority doubt the effect current policies will have on the fragile economy.
In a survey of 526 businesses by the CBI and accountancy giant KPMG, two out of three firms believe that the government policies on infrastructure projects will not have any tangible impact on the economy.
Many businesses expect the country's infrastructure standard to get worse over the next five years, as there are "too few signs of action" from the government, despite announcing a number of projects over the past two years.
"Sadly the business verdict remains that UK infrastructure is not up to scratch. It is disappointing to hear businesses report once again a sense of more rhetoric than action," said KPMG Partner Richard Threlfall.
"Our businesses are competing each day, every day in the global market, and we need to be investing now in building great infrastructure that is a help not a hindrance to our entrepreneurial efforts."
CBI Director-General John Cridland said that the "faltering speed of delivery on infrastructure creates a worrying sense that politicians lack the political will to tackle some of the major issues head-on."
"We can't afford any further delay. The coalition must show strong leadership and prove that the UK can deliver on a small number of projects over the next 18 months and reach a much-needed consensus on bigger issues such as aviation and roads reform," he added.
The survey also found that more than half of respondents are dissatisfied with the country's aviation links to emerging markets, such as China, India, Brazil and Russia.
Meanwhile, dissatisfaction with domestic transport has jumped from 28% in 2011 to 49% in 2013 and more than three quarters of respondents said that they are not confident of improvements in energy infrastructure over the next five years.
Nevertheless, the businesses find that the country has progressed in terms of the increasingly important digital infrastructure.
Five Practical Steps
The CBI also suggested five practical steps for the government in the next 18 months to improve infrastructure:
1. Introducing capital allowances for infrastructure projects in Autumn Statement
2. Completing all feasibility studies for road and rail projects outlined in the Spending Review and conducting an audit of the state of the road network
3. Passing the Energy Bill and ensuring businesses' investment in energy projects with a secondary legislation.
4. Implement the findings of the Airports Commission in party manifestos.
5. Creating a long-term plan for digital infrastructure in collaboration with industry.
See the CBI Infrastructure infographic below
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