The Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) has written to chancellor George Osborne urging him to clarify the position of Infrastructure UK and its work to develop a long term strategy for national infrastructure.
Infrastructure UK was set up by the Treasury in December last year with the remit of driving increased investment in UK infrastructure. It was tasked with developing a national infrastructure framework, alongside the process for the next Spending Review, so that schemes could be prioritised and timed in the context of a long-term, cross-departmental view of infrastructure needs.
It is also conducting an investigation into the cost of civil engineering works for major infrastructure projects, building on “existing evidence” of “potentially high costs” of UK schemes compared with the rest of Europe. In his last budget former chancellor Alistair Darling asked for conclusions and recommendations from the investigation to be published by the end of 2010.
CECA has now written to Osborne urging for clarity on whether this work will continue.
“Before the election we wrote to you urging your support for Infrastructure UK, which set out its strategy for national infrastructure in the last budget statement. IUK and the ideas behind it gained widespread support within the infrastructure sector, where it was identified as having the potential to enable government to deliver a better infrastructure network and to do so in a way that would increasingly deliver efficiencies in public spending.
“IUK, having the potential to create a truly strategic approach through the creation of a national infrastructure framework, also has an important role to play in delivering innovative means of funding, such as the Green Investment Bank, for much needed major projects.
“As chancellor you are now in a position to influence this part of the Treasury and we hope you will guarantee its future,” says the letter, signed by national director Rosemary Beales.
The letter also warns against a stop/start spending programme and urges Osborne to provide a “steady level of investment that flows visibly into the future”.