UK parliamentarians, including Labour’s infrastructure lead, have heard how long-term planning is crucial for effective and efficient delivery.
With a UK general election coming next year, Labour has set out five missions to inform its decision-making should it form the next government.
- Breaking down barriers to opportunity at every stage
- Securing the highest sustained growth in the G7
- Making Britain a clean energy superpower
- Building an NHS fit for the future
- Making Britain's streets safe
At a recent ICE roundtable, Labour's shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, Darren Jones MP, heard industry leaders’ views on how infrastructure could help meet these ambitions.
Improving infrastructure delivery – the central theme of Labour's current infrastructure review, which Jones is leading – was a focus for discussion.
Attendees also explored how to make the most of the National Infrastructure Commission and other bodies, such as the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, to deliver projects in the UK on time and in budget.
Need for long-term thinking and planning
Speaking after the event, ICE policy director Chris Richards said it was important for Labour to hear from infrastructure leaders as they start their infrastructure review.
Particularly, on how policymakers can improve delivery, which will be crucial to meeting the UK’s national and international goals in the years ahead.
Richards said: "Attendees left with a better understanding of how infrastructure can achieve Labour's missions.
“The key takeaways were the need for long-term thinking and planning, process, and governance reform across Whitehall, and the need for a proper debate on the role of private finance in infrastructure."
How else the ICE has shaped pre-election discussions
The roundtable with Darren Jones MP took place on 6 December. Party conferences took place in September and October.
The ICE’s view: whoever leads, long-term planning is critical
Infrastructure will play a big role in the challenges the UK needs to overcome. But to make progress, whoever is in office needs to offer clarity and investment.
Infrastructure systems can take decades to deliver, particularly for major programmes. A long-term view is fundamental, but this has been lacking for some time.
The National Infrastructure Commission's recent assessment should be the basis on which politicians prioritise future investment to ensure better outcomes for the public and improve efficiency in delivery.
This assessment is the most comprehensive yet of the infrastructure costs associated with supporting regional growth and reaching net zero.
If the UK continues its stop/start approach to infrastructure planning and fails to commit to long-term goals, those costs will rise and the country will miss out on much-needed private investment.
And the problems the public faces will grow.
Politicians should use the NIC’s recommendations to keep making progress. When they do, results are visible, and people benefit.
When they don’t, problems get stored up for the future.