With the introduction of Brexit, and the impending general election, infrastructure investment has been in a state of uncertainty. So what does this mean for the UK and the construction industry?
Due to the UK’s approaching exit from the European Union it could see the European Investment Bank, which has invested around £31 billion in the UK from 2012 to 2016, remove funds altogether. Furthermore, in the last few years it is evident that private investment has helped to maintain the infrastructure sector, seeing the delivery of projects such as Crossrail, Gatwick and Heathrow. However, in uncertain times, this investment from the private sector is likely to be put on hold.
However, with new research undertaken by GE Digital and YouGov finding that 79% of businesses in Great Britain are confident about future Government investment in infrastructure, how can the UK’s infrastructure status match up to this optimism?
A recent briefing paper from The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (Niesr) has highlighted the need for the government to “play a lead role as a provider, facilitator and financer of infrastructure projects and services.” With Amit Kara, co-author of the brief going on to say, “the new National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) and the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) are examples of policy action in the right direction.”
The future government will have to ensure that infrastructure investment is at the forefront of plans. Infrastructure has always been a good reflection of the country’s economic heath and it’s important for wider markets to see that our Government has the confidence to invest in key infrastructure projects. It is also vital that these plans do not centre on London alone but the UK as a whole. The Northern powerhouse is a good sign – helping to drive construction projects in the North and we hope that the future government continues to support this endeavour.
There also needs to be a clear focus on collaboration between the Government and the construction sector to ensure that together we are ideally placed to deliver projects and allow for future growth. Of course, the government will also have to continue to address apprenticeships and training programmes to reduce the skills gap – as we need the people to deliver the projects.
From our perspective, we understand the importance infrastructure projects have for the UK in general and in the past they have played a key role in our own portfolio. At Prater we are proud to have a long and varied history in infrastructure including various work packages at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports as well as Blackfriars station and the redevelopment of London Bridge. Our business is structured to allow us to work with, and best meet the needs of clients at a regional basis – with Prater sites in Birmingham as well as Manchester.
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