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ICE seeks infrastructure cash amid record falls in construction output

Sustained and increased investment in infrastructure are at the heart of the ICE’s election manifesto, published this week.

The Institution repeated its call for a national infrastructure bank to source the £400bn it said was needed to overhaul infrastructure and prepare for a low-carbon economy between now and 2020.

The manifestos were released as 2009 was confirmed as the worst ever year for construction.

“A national infrastructure investment bank would help increase the availability of infrastructure funding and reduce its costs.”

ICE statement

Figures from the Construction Products Association (CPA) showed that 2009 had the biggest output fall on record with output shrinking by 12%. It predicts a further 3% fall this year before showing modest growth of no more than 0.5% per year between 2011 and 2013.

“The major concern for the industry is public investment in construction. Work on the major hospital and schools programmes has helped save the industry from even more dramatic falls in output,” said CPA chief executive Michael Ankers.

“Looking ahead, the recent Pre-Budget Report confirmed that there would be sharp cuts in government capital spending over the next three years, and if these occur before there is any significant recovery in private sector construction, then there is a real danger that what we currently anticipate as being a three year downturn will extend even further,” he said.

The ICE said private finance was needed to stimulate the sector.

“The ICE believes that a national infrastructure investment bank would help increase the availability of infrastructure funding and reduce its costs,” it said.

The ICE acknowledged that any such bank would not change the need for the “vast majority” of capital for UK infrastructure investment to come from the private sector.

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