Improving infrastructure delivery will boost productivity says UK government

Government’s pledge to tackle productivity issues in the construction sector launched at ICE HQ.

Chris Grayling, Andrew Jones, Robert Mair: raising productivity could add £56bn to our GDP
Chris Grayling, Andrew Jones, Robert Mair: raising productivity could add £56bn to our GDP

The Infrastructure Projects Authority (IPA) set out its Transforming Infrastructure Performance (TIP) and Transport Infrastructure Efficiency Strategy (TIES) plans as part of a UK government strategy to improve infrastructure and boost construction sector productivity.

Raising productivity by just a quarter of one percent a year on a sustained basis over 10 years, it says, could add £56bn to UK GDP.

Launched at ICE HQ, the plans were revealed alongside the National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline, a set of projects worth £600bn over the next 10 years, consisting of public and private investment.

The TIP programme sets out how the UK government intends to ensure these projects are delivered swiftly and efficiently, potentially saving £15bn. It contains ambitious plans to transform infrastructure delivery over the long-term, using the government’s influence to drive modern methods of construction so the UK can lead the world in high-tech building.

The programme shows the IPA using its unique position at the centre of government to drive infrastructure delivery and performance across all sectors. Its 4 elements follow on from the recently announced Industrial Strategy and Autumn Budget:

  1. How government and industry can work together to benchmark performance and select the right projects.
  2. Improve alignment from policy and asset objectives into project delivery alongside integrating planning across sectors.
  3. To support effective and sustainable commercial relationships and streamline the procurement process.
  4. Increase uptake of technologies and innovations – both for new and existing infrastructure.

The TIES sets out how these lessons will be applied to drive efficiency and productivity specifically in transport. It marks the start of a new programme chaired by ICE Vice President Andrew Wolstenholme to drive efficiency in infrastructure performance and capital investment. It responds to some of the strategic direction and commitments made by UK government in the Autumn Budget and the Industrial Strategy.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling introduced the report as a new way for the Department for Transport and its arm’s- length bodies to put transport users at the forefront of their operations, mirroring ICE’s National Needs Assessment recommendations.

As well as Chris Grayling, speakers at the event included Andrew Jones MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury; Tony Meggs, Chief Executive of the IPA; and ICE President Professor Lord Robert Mair.

ICE Director General Nick Baveystock commented: “Productivity, quality of life and the ability to face future challenges depends on the right high performing infrastructure assets being managed in a coordinated way.

“Through TIP, the DfT’s Infrastructure Efficiency Strategy and the commitment to invest £600bn over the next 10 years, government has made a long-term, strategic commitment to an infrastructure system for a modern economy.”