Infrastructure upgrades could boost UK economy, report says

Infrastructure improvements could boost UK economy by �10bn BIC says

Transport, energy and IT communications improvements could boost the UK economy by £10 billion a year, a report says.

BIC says the Government should invest in a long-term infrastructure plan or face putting its economic future at risk.

Transport, energy and information communication technology improvements could increase the GDP (gross domestic product) by an additional 0.7 per cent a year, it said.

The report urged the Government to focus on five pieces of infrastructure. They included a detailed long-term infrastructure strategy, procurement reform and improvements to the planning system for major projects.

The BIC said these had to go hand-in-hand with attracting private finance, and ensuring the UK had the right skills to deliver national and regional infrastructure projects.

BIC chairman Professor David Begg said: “The UK has one of the most heavily used infrastructure networks in the developed world. This is why it is critical to encourage further investment so that UK infrastructure is fit for the future.

“By infrastructure, we mean transport, energy supply and digital communications networks - the backbone of business and our economic health.”

Increased levels of investment from both Government and “critically from the private sector must also be matched by a long-term infrastructure strategy”, Begg said.

“Our ability to move goods and services around the country, and doing business online, is crucial to our economic vitality, particularly in stimulating regional economies,” he said.

Institution of Civil Engineers director general Tom Foulkes, responding to the report, said: “The need to think strategically and secure targeted investment in our infrastructure networks is becoming ever more pressing.

“The Government must now focus on attracting inward investment and translating its plans into actions that pave the way for infrastructure to become the economic driver it promises.”

A Treasury spokesman said: “The Government is taking decisive action to develop Britain’s infrastructure and published the UK's first ever national infrastructure plan in October 2010.

“This set a broad vision of the £200 billion of private and public infrastructure investment planned over the next five years to underpin the UK’s growth. It is vital that the UK has reliable infrastructure to grow and that is why the Government is publishing the UK’s long-term forward view of projects and programmes in autumn 2011, as part of the national infrastructure plan 2011.”

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