Engineers and their professional bodies were this week told to prepare to fight for local government capital spending on infrastructure after the election by proving the social value of schemes.
Consultants and contractors warned that capital spending could be cut by as much as 50% as councils focus budgets that are expected to be reduced by 20% overall on other demands.
“All parties have said they expect local authorities to deliver to local people’s priorities,” said WSP head of local government services and Association for Consultancy and Engineering local government group chairman John Nicholson.
“It is going to change the face of service provision in local government. There will need to be very strong advocates from the profession to argue the case for infrastructure investment,” he said. “You will have to fight for your place in the queue.”
“Everyone is going to be looking for more efficiency but that is where there is scope for local businesses,” said managing director of Oldham based DCT Civil Engineering Peter Greenhalgh.
He said local firms could win a bigger share of the much smaller pot thanks to council drives to invest money locally.