UK’s infrastructure spending lowest among OECD countries
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The UK is near the bottom of an international league for capital investment, especially for transport projects, according to a new study.
According to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), the UK’s investment in roads, railways, housing and clean energy is the lowest of 34 countries in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and second lowest for information and communications technology equipment.
That is especially worrying, the organisation representing trade unions in England and Wales said, with the pending withdrawal from the European Union.
“We can’t just waltz into Brexit with our fingers crossed,” said TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady. “If the government doesn’t invest in Britain it could go very badly wrong. And working people will pay the price with fewer jobs, lower wages and higher prices.”
The TUC included the call for more investment into its submission to the Treasury ahead of next week’s Autumn Statement.
“We need investment in rail and roads, new homes and clean energy and in skills, education and fair pay for a world-class workforce,” O’Grady said.
“It’s the right thing to do for better jobs and higher wages, and it’s the best way to build an economy strong enough to compete in the global marketplace.”
A Transport Department spokesman dismissed the concerns saying that the government is currently delivering a record £70bn investment in rail, roads, ports and airports.
“Within this, we are funding the biggest rail modernisation programme since Victorian times and the most extensive improvements to roads since the 1970s,” he said.
“Work is due to get under way on HS2 and Crossrail is set to open in 2018. We are also backing expansion at Heathrow, which will bring benefits to passengers and the wider economy worth up to GBP61 billion.”