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Despite Brexit and election uncertainty, major infrastructure projects should continue, businesses urge

Major infrastructure projects in the UK should still go ahead despite political upset in the recent election which resulted in a hung parliament and the uncertainty of Brexit, according to leading business organisations.

Lord Adonis, the head of the National Infrastructure Commission, is joining forces with the Confederation of British Industry, British Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses to press for progress regarding decisions on key initiatives.

Lord Adonis believes that: “Britain’s historic weakness has been to under-invest in infrastructure and to adopt a stop-go approach even where decisions are taken in principle.

“Nothing symbolises this more than the long-running saga of Heathrow airport. A third runway was agreed in principle 14 years ago, but there has still not been a firm decision to proceed. There’s no point saying Britain is open to the world if you can’t get to and from the rest of the world because Heathrow is full.

“Brexit and the hung parliament must not lead to dither and delay on the key infrastructure challenges facing the country.

“We need to press on with decisions on Heathrow, HS2 to the North of England, new electricity generating capacity and radical improvements to digital communications, to underpin jobs and economic growth.”

Last year, it emerged that the UK is near the bottom of an international league table for infrastructure spending, especially for transport projects.

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. 

However, accounting firm PWC has estimated that between 2014 and 2025, investment in the UK’s transport infrastructure will grow by an average of five per cent a year. 

This is partially driven by extensive government spending on major projects such as Crossrail and HS2.

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