Rohan Malik, EY’s UK Managing Partner for Government & Infrastructure, comments on infrastructure announcements in today’s Budget:
“The Chancellor’s Infrastructure announcements are a strong signal of confidence that the UK economy is ready for post-pandemic recovery.
“We’ve been actively monitoring how infrastructure spend is helping countries across the world return to full strength post-pandemic. For good reason, governments view infrastructure projects as an economic stimulus with strong job delivery, however those jobs must come at the right time if that bullseye is to be hit. In other countries we’ve seen capital projects yet to be finished that were originally instigated to help credit crunch recovery, so it’s important that projects match the immediate delivery need.
“There is an important role for the Government to create the conditions for success that attract and ramp-up private funding – domestic and FDI – so taxpayers aren’t left holding the chequebook every time, while also freeing up capital to be spent in other areas of recovery. The UK Infrastructure Bank is a first step in making that happen while also helping to tackle climate change. Allowing investors – be they citizen investment bonds or private sector – higher returns when they take higher levels of risk is a key lever for stimulating private investment and speeding up cash release, and one the UK shouldn’t shy away from.
“Investment in infrastructure must have people at the heart of its purpose and be linked to enhancing the sustainable living of citizens. Announcements around the City Deals, Freeports and opening the first round of the Levelling Up fund suggests infrastructure policy makers are rightly thinking ‘hyperlocal’ – how can we get jobs-for-now across the regions while also aligning these investments to long term value and social needs.
“In order to give infrastructure capital projects the opportunity to feed directly into the Levelling-Up agenda they must be accelerated to achieve maximum impact for economic recovery post-pandemic. That means we need to see the right projects chosen, project development accelerated, departments and polices mobilised for success, and, finally to build, build, build.”
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