In last year's flagship National Needs Assessment (NNA) report, the NNA Executive Group set out its vision for the UK's infrastructure:
'The UK will invest efficiently, affordably and sustainably in infrastructure assets and services that will drive the economic growth necessary to enhance the UK's position in the global economy, support a high quality of life and realise a low carbon future.'
Modern societies depend on infrastructure to sustain their quality of life and business competitiveness. Our advanced economy increasingly relies on connectivity to be productive – bringing people together physically and virtually to innovate and trade. Investors need confidence that our infrastructure systems are reliable and affordable.
The UK is a long way from having the modern infrastructure networks that are required by a world-leading economy. The perception of business people is that the UK's infrastructure lags behind many of its global competitors. Infrastructure is both an economic enabler and a significant contributor to the UKs GDP. Demands on our infrastructure services are increasing and changing. In parallel the infrastructure supply chain is dealing with the impact of Brexit and working to unlock the opportunities created by innovative technology.
Infrastructure is not a series of stand-alone assets. It delivers benefits through complex networks that need to be precisely managed. If we do not take the right steps, we will lose out on the opportunities that the future holds.
To this end policy should focus on three overarching objectives:
- Maximise the productivity benefits to the UK economy from having a high performing infrastructure system to drive economic growth.
- To use government's purchasing power effectively to stimulate increased productivity in delivery of infrastructure.
- Take a proactive approach to manage cross departmental policy risks which impact on the infrastructure portfolio, for example taxation and immigration policy.
To achieve these objectives government should collaborate with industry to:
- Work with the National Infrastructure Commission to integrate a framework to enable cross-sector infrastructure planning that will meet the priorities of end users.
- Implement the proposals set out in the Construction Leadership Council's proposed Construction Sector Deal.
The ICE will continue to work with the Government to deliver a national infrastructure system that is efficient, affordable and sustainable – an infrastructure fit for an innovative and productive global trading nation.
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