CBI calls for infrastructure plan

The government must build a coherent approach to improve infrastructure across the country and avoid the risk of regions being left behind whilst others pull ahead in a two-speed England, according to a new report from the CBI.

With record levels of public investment in the transport system, and a commitment to developing major projects – such as HS2, Crossrail and the new runway at Heathrow – the government has shown a strong will to improve infrastructure across the country. Transport has also become a key feature of the devolution agenda, and Sub-national transport bodies have been established to enable areas to speak with one voice on their priorities.

But Driving Delivery: Turning plans into action on regional infrastructure – the result of discussions with a wide range of businesses and transport organisations across England – identifies concerns that the complexity of infrastructure decision-making and a lack of transparency around how investment decisions are made are putting the promise of greater connectivity at risk.

To remedy this, the UK’s largest business group is calling for a commitment in the upcoming comprehensive spending review to increase local transport funding and to consolidate the number of funding pots for local transport investment.

It also wants greater emphasis on future economic potential in the government’s infrastructure decision making to deliver investment across regions, and STBs for the south west and east of England as well as a framework from the government enabling regions and local leaders to make the most of the opportunities of devolution.

The CBI has also called for a cross-Whitehall infrastructure committee to better coordinate infrastructure planning, decision-making and delivery across government departments.