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ACE chief calls for top ten priority schemes in Spending Review

Ministers must prioritise 10 key infrastructure schemes to boost economic growth, engineers have warned.

Association for Consultancy & Engineering chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin told NCE that the government must be bold and green light only a tiny minority of the 500 schemes originally identified in its National Infrastructure Plan (NIP).

He was speaking a week ahead of the publication next week of chancellor George Osborne’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

Almost a year ago the Treasury promised to guarantee £40bn of private sector funding to help unlock around 230 major infrastructure schemes.

But progress so far has been slow and the usefulness of NIP was recently questioned by the Public Accounts Committee.

Now Ogunshakin says the government must narrow down its project prioirities even further.

“It needs to narrow it down to 100 [projects], even down to 10,” he said.

He refused to be drawn on which projects should be fasttracked but said: “A power scheme has to be at the top of the list followed by transport schemes.”

Ogunshakin co-chairs the NIP Strategic Engagement Forum (NIPSEF) alongside chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.

He warned that failing to start construction of the key NIP schemes would have disastrous consequences.

“The NIP is not just a shopping list; it’s a platform to build on.”

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