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CBI comments on NAO infrastructure report - urging more action to boost private investment

The CBI has commented on the National Audit’s Office report, Planning for Economic Infrastructure.

The report calls for greater clarity for consumers on the financial impact of planned infrastructure; more robust demand forecasts underpinning projects; and to develop the National Infrastructure Plan, to give greater confidence to potential investors - both in the UK and globally.

Rhian Kelly, CBI Director for Business Environment, said:

“Investing in rail, roads, energy, waste and digital infrastructure is a no-brainer. It creates thousands of construction jobs in the short term and generates growth in the long-run.

“With government spending severely squeezed, the private sector must step up to fill the gap.

“The NAO is right to call for greater clarity to taxpayer and consumers but the CBI wants the government to do much more to give investors certainty and confidence - to attract finance and drive down project costs.

“Our creaking infrastructure still lags behind other countries and we cannot afford further delays in getting spades in the ground.”

Background

1. The CBI made recommendations for generating private sector investment in infrastructure in its report in May 2012: An Offer They Shouldn’t Refuse: Attracting Investment to UK Infrastructure.

The CBI has recognised that securing up to £311billion of investment to repair the UK’s infrastructure will be tough and has identified four changes which could make a real difference:

  • Targeting specific projects to enhance their credit rating and make them more attractive to investors;
  • Pooling pension funds beyond the Pension Infrastructure Platform (PIP) and building up in-house skills;
  • Commercialising the public sector’s approach to infrastructure and creating a single, attractive shop window for would-be investors; and
  • Ensuring Solvency II doesn’t act as a barrier to private investment

2. The World Economic Forum rated the UK 28th out of 142 countries on infrastructure in 2011/12 behind countries such as the Czech Republic and Croatia.