Industry professionals and local government stakeholders are being encouraged to share their views on what the role of infrastructure should be in the Government’s 'levelling up' agenda.
Feedback and submissions are sought as part of a consultation launched today by ICE. The consultation is the first step in a wider piece of policy work being undertaken, looking at the role of devolved and regional infrastructure planning.
The government has discussed the idea of 'levelling up' often. On the surface it can be understood as a signal of the government’s intention to deliver more equitable investment in services across the UK, and in England specifically, with a view to delivering better opportunities to all of society.
The consultation paper sets out a range of questions that the Institution believes should be answered in order to ensure that regional investment in infrastructure delivers the greatest social and economic benefits.
Chris Richards, ICE Director of Policy, said: “We recognise that more effective approaches to regional infrastructure planning and investment could reap rewards for many businesses and communities. This is an opportunity to share your thoughts about how we can take the 'levelling up' theory and give it clear and actionable outcomes.”
The paper encourages discussion about what models of investment are required to ensure infrastructure is adequately funded in all regions of England. It recognises that data shows that regional investment varies, and that the impact of Covid-19 on regional economic growth, may also be felt in uneven ways.
It also builds on a previous recommendation by the ICE to establish sub-national infrastructure bodies in England. As suggested in State of the Nation 2019: Connecting Infrastructure and Housing, such bodies should be tasked with creating integrated regional infrastructure strategies, which breakdown individual political cycles, both national and local, and are cross-sectoral and evidence-based.
The discussion paper sets out a series of questions the Institution wants the infrastructure sector’s thoughts on. The aim is to help inform the development of ICE policy in relation to regional infrastructure planning and delivery. Although this work will predominantly focus on infrastructure policy in England, views from across the devolved nations and international nations are welcome and encouraged.
The consultation questions include:
- What should ‘levelling up’ mean in the context of economic infrastructure?
- What are the priorities, in terms of economic and social outcomes, for infrastructure in the context of ‘levelling up’ and how have these been affected by Covid-19?
- How could subnational infrastructure bodies be integrated into existing infrastructure decision-making frameworks?
- What approach and criteria should be used to develop regional infrastructure strategies across England that can support the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda?
- What models of investment are required to ensure that infrastructure is adequately funded in all regions across England?
- How can the development of regional infrastructure strategies be leveraged to ensure that investment flows to projects and programmes across England?
You can read the consultation and find out more about the wider context on the Infrastructure Blog.
Contributions or questions about the consultation can be sent to: [email protected] by Monday 31 August 2020.