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Obama’s infrastructure pledge triggers new ICE plea for UK

Foulkes urges politicians to take a lead from America.

UK residents need the same commitment to future infrastructure investment as that given to US citizens last week by President Barack Obama, the ICE said last week.

Obama set out a bold commitment to US infrastructure spending last week (News last week). His plans cover reconstruction and development of the country’s roads, rail networks and airport runways. He also proposed setting up a national infrastructure bank to leverage federal funds.

Long ICE campaign

The ICE has long campaigned for the establishment of a similar funding mechanism for the UK.
It believes this will help attract the large volume of private sector investment required to fund essential infrastructure projects. It is estimated that between £40bn and £50bn per year in infrastructure investment is needed to help boost the UK’s future competitiveness and enable the transition to a low carbon economy.

The coalition government says it wants to set up a Green Investment Bank and is expected to publish details after October’s Comprehensive Spending Review. The ICE is currently working with the Green Alliance and others to develop detailed proposals for how such a bankcould work.

“The people of America will be encouraged by the bold commitment to rebuild and develop the country’s roads, rail networks and airport runways along with the recognition that robust and effective infrastructure is vital for future development and economic prosperity,” said ICE Director General, Tom Foulkes.

Infrastructure needs attention

“The people of the UK need that same promise, considering the fact that the ICE’s assessment of UK infrastructure concluded that our overall infrastructure requires ‘significant attention’ with energy and local transport infrastructure grades as ‘at risk’.

“Many billions of pounds need to be channeled into our infrastructure. While much of this funding must come from the private sector, a mechanism is needed to attract the large volume of private investment required. 

“We are confident the new government recognises the scale of the challenge and hope this is reflected in the comprehensive spending review and plan for a Green Investment Bank.” 

  • The ICE’s recent State of the Nation: Infrastructure 2010 graded the infrastructure sectors as follows:
  • Water and wastewater (B - adequate for now)
  • Strategic transport networks (B - adequate for now)
  • Waste (C- requires attention)
  • Flood risk management (C - requires attention)
  • Energy (D - at risk)
  • Local transport (D - at risk)

View the report at www.ice.org.uk

Readers' comments (1)

  • Rodney Bridle

    There was a time when one could purchase loal authority and utilities bonds to fund infrastructure development. There were whole pages of advertisements in newspapers. These have now dissappeared. Something similar should be re-introduced and be accessible to ordinary investors without the need to go through the stranglehold of the Financial Adviser. Development bonds for international infrastruture should also be introduced. And could it be made possible for ordinary investors to lend to the World Bank and other multi-laterals?

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