Conservative MP Esther McVey said this week that her party “gets it” when it comes to the economic importance of boosting the UK’s infrastructure.
“I want to reassure you that there are MPs that get it,” the Wirral West MP said at the ICE’s Conservative Party conference in Manchester on Monday. “I think if you look at the things this government are doing, we’re saying yes, it’s about localism, but we also know we need to get this country [as a whole] up and running.”
McVey called infrastructure “the skeleton that goes right through our country”. She said: “Business [grows] off that skeleton.” She defended the coalition’s Localism Bill, which will see major changes to the way in which infrastructure projects are planned.
She also said chancellor George Osborne will make a key announcement in the Autumn Review regarding the National Infrastructure Plan. Funding for projects under the Plan will be 70% publically funded, with the remaining 30% to come from the private sector, she said. The Autumn Review is currently slated for the 29 November, and the government has said it will publish an updated NIP by the end of the year.
Lessons from industrial heritage
McVey said government and engineers should look to Liverpool’s industrial heritage for knowledge on how to create a successful relationship between infrastructure and business.
“We were dynamic then, and understood how important the industry was,” she told NCE. “The railways and the docks were key jobs.
“Boosting infrastructure investment is fundamentally about employment and bringing knowledge back into the country.”