July 15, 2016
In a new report Brexit – The Case for Infrastructure, the Institution of Civil Engineers has set out the business case for the valuable contribution which infrastructure makes to the economy and argues that the UK should not lose sight of this as it begins negotiations for Brexit as it leaves the European Union. The report claims that high quality, high performing infrastructure is vital for economic growth and improved quality of life. It points to transport, communications, energy and housing as being central to spreading opportunity across the whole country. It also makes the case that infrastructure acts as a catalyst for social and economic inclusion, encouraging greater participation in society from people of all walks of life. In particular, during uncertain or volatile economic times, continued investment in UK infrastructure can help provide economic stability, facilitate inward investment and drive economic growth.
The report highlights the fact that for every pound of infrastructure spending, economic activity is raised by £2.84, with the construction industry contributing a huge £103bn in economic output, 6.5% of the UK total. Infrastructure also creates a large number of jobs for the UK the report says, 2.1 million in 2015 representing 6.2% of the UK total. The report also revealed that every 1,000 direct jobs created by the delivery of new infrastructure boosts wider employment by over 3,000 jobs.
It hailed the revival that infrastructure has enjoyed since the financial crisis, with the long term strategic case for infrastructure investment and delivery being better understood across the political divide and within Government departments. But, it said, the UK still sits just 24th in the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness infrastructure rankings, behind a number of our economic competitors including Japan (7th), France (10th) and Germany (12th).
It called on Government to commit to infrastructure during its negotiations with the EU over Brexit and continue to place infrastructure investment at the heart of economic policy. It says the Government must continue to invest in long term infrastructure programmes and support the National Infrastructure Commission. The Commission is due to deliver a National Infrastructure Assessment, and ICE is supporting this with its National Needs Assessment.
It also calls on Government to continue to place infrastructure at the heart of its plans for devolution, as called for in its recent State of the Nation: Devolution report. The report follows ICE’s announcement that, led by the Royal Academy of Engineering, it would be co-operating with the other 37 organisations representing the engineering profession to ensure that the needs of all sectors that have a dependence on engineering are represented and understood.