UK businesses would like to see faster progress with infrastructure projects

Poor infrastructure hampering Britain say business leaders

Business leaders are concerned about the state of British infrastructure and its impact on investment, an industry survey found. 

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) questioned more than 700 companies and found that most of them were dissatisfied with the progress of infrastructure projects that would improve the state of British railways and roads and boost airport capacity.

"Whether it's our creaking railways, clogged roads and crowded runways, or our digital links and the energy to power them struggling to keep up, businesses now want the Government to deliver the large-scale upgrades that it has made ambitious strides towards,” said CBI director-general John Cridland.

"Delivery of key projects - from where we build a new runway to how we power our industry and homes for the future - must be the crowning achievement of this Parliament. That doesn't just mean taking the tough decisions for the long term. It means better planning and having the right skills in place to ensure there is seamless continuity from when the green light is given for action to getting spades in the ground."

Road congestion, which costs the economy according to estimates some £8bn a year, was among the most frequently mentioned issues.

Almost three out of four business leaders surveyed said they were open to the idea of road charging, while just under half believed spending on railways should be increased.

Almost two out of three expressed concerns with the pace of progress, while just over half believe they will not see any necessary upgrades in the next five years.

"Political procrastination over infrastructure threatens economic growth and jeopardises investment. When infrastructure decisions are deferred, business takes the hit,” said Richard Robinson, chief executive of technical services firm AECOM - which helped with the research.

The CBI said business has been encouraged by government moves such as the creation of the National Infrastructure Commission, but there was a pressing need for ‘thorny issues’ to be tackled.

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