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Transport project pipeline drops by £6.7bn

More than £6bn of transport projects have been wiped off the government’s record of forthcoming public sector work, according to detailed analysis.

Accountants KPMG found that the government’s latest Construction Pipeline – published in August – contained 178 transport projects with a total value of £59.8bn.

But this was down from £66.5bn in December 2014 as the massive Crossrail project progressed, as did a raft of smaller schemes, while others were slashed from the list to be reviewed by the new government.

Across all sectors, the pipeline fell £9.1bn to £118.7bn.

The figures fuelled fresh fears of infrastructure spending cuts at November’s government spending review.

KPMG UK head of infrastructure, building and construction Richard Threlfall said: “I hope that we will get a clearer picture in November when the spending review is published. But in the meantime the huge 28% drop in the number of projects included suggests some government departments are putting projects on hold in the expectation that they get culled.

“I don’t expect we will see anything like the scale of cutback in capital programmes that the industry experienced in 2010, after the last election, but there is clearly cause for nervousness about the potential squeeze in spending.

“I hope the government will recognise that what this industry most needs is long-term certainty and stability in demand, to provide it with the confidence to invest in technology and its workforce. Our growing economy is creating a welcome uplift in private sector demand, but the government should not use that as an excuse to cut back its own investments, create another hiatus, and send ripples of uncertainty through the industry.”

The ICE earlier this month warned against cutting unprotected infrastructure investment at the spending review.

The London to Birmingham leg of High Speed 2 remained on the pipeline even though it is still awaiting Parliamentary approval. After this and the remainder of Crossrail, the next largest single transport project in the pipeline is the £1.3bn A14 upgrade.

 

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