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Business leaders fear critical infrastructure will worsen

Two-thirds of business leaders expect energy infrastructure to worsen over the rest of this decade, research has shown.

The survey of more than 400 senior figures found that 67% anticipated a dip in power performance over the next five years.

Commissioned by business group CBI and engineering consultancy URS, the poll also found that 57% expected transport infrastructure to worsen.

The results will come as a blow to the coalition government, which has put energy and transport schemes at the heart of its investment plans.

Despite this rhetoric, almost all businesses believe political intervention is part of the problem, rather than the solution: 96% said political uncertainty was discouraging investment.

Nine in 10 business leaders polled supported the creation of an independent infrastructure commission, as pledged by the Labour party and recommended by Sir John Armitt.

CBI deputy director-general Katja Hall said: “Progress on infrastructure has been a case of two steps forward and three steps back for far too long.

“While the policy environment has improved, businesses still don’t see upgrades to mission-critical parts of our infrastructure on the ground in practice – and don’t expect to anytime soon.”

She added: “We’re at a crossroads. The next government must build on the successful policies of this Parliament, but we also need to see bold thinking and a renewal of the politics of infrastructure, finding a new way to agree upon and then consistently deliver the improvements we’ll need over the next 50 years.”

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