Rohan Malik, EY’s UK Managing Partner for Government & Infrastructure, comments on the infrastructure announcements in today’s Budget:
“The Chancellor’s infrastructure announcements are a strong signal of the confidence the Government has to turn its Levelling Up aspirations into a reality. However, it was a perhaps missed opportunity that the Government wasn’t more explicit about the areas of green infrastructure that could create a multiplier impact.
“The £130bn for ‘economic infrastructure’ - such as roads, railways, broadband and mobile – through the National Infrastructure Strategy is exactly what’s needed to connect our towns and cities, creating a ‘prosperity network’. Today’s infrastructure moves correctly have people at the heart of their purpose, enhancing the sustainable living of citizens through a £2.6bn investment in improved local transport networks – including cycling and tackling the issue of potholes. This should make it easier for people to make greener choices, as the UK strives for Net Zero.
“But, the timing of these projects will be key and that is the detail businesses and communities will have expected to hear today.
“In order to give infrastructure capital projects the opportunity to feed directly into the post-pandemic, post-Brexit economy, they must be accelerated to achieve maximum economic impact. EY monitors how infrastructure spend is helping countries across the world return to full strength post-pandemic, and there is an important role for the Government to create the conditions for success that attract and ramp-up private funding – domestic and foreign direct investment – so taxpayers aren’t left holding the chequebook every time.
“For good reason, governments view infrastructure projects as an economic stimulus with strong job delivery. In some countries capital projects originally instigated to help with the credit crunch recovery of 2008 are yet to be finished, so it’s important that UK projects match the immediate delivery need. Projects, and associated jobs, must come at the right time if that bullseye is to be hit. That means we need to see the right project development accelerated, departments and polices mobilised for success, public-private sector collaboration amplified and – vitally – to build, build, build.”