• 25th November 2016

Industry reacts to Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered the Autumn Statement earlier this week, predicting a 2.1% growth for 2016 slowing to 1.4% for 2017.

Here we look specifically at Hammond’s comment on infrastructure, and how the industry has reacted to these plans.

The infrastructure plans

  • An additional £1.1bn of investment in English local transport networks, where small investments can offer big wins
  • £220m to address traffic pinch points on strategic roads
  • £450m to trial digital signalling on our railways to achieve a step-change in reliability
  • £390m to build on our competitive advantage in low emission vehicles and the development of connected autonomous vehicles; plus a 100 per cent first year capital allowance for the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure
  • £110m of funding for East West Rail, and a commitment to deliver the new Oxford to Cambridge Expressway

Miles Barnard, managing director of Mouchel
“It is reassuring that this extra money is going to be deliberately targeted in the most important areas. In the same vein I’d also like to see the significant new funding in science and technology targeted in areas that most influence the modernisation of infrastructure including driverless vehicles and big data.”

Matthew Jones, head of construction and engineering at international law firm Taylor Wessing
“At a time of uncertainty about opportunities and investment post-Brexit, and following on from the recent announcements on Heathrow and HS2, this will boost the confidence of employers to commit to capital expenditure and resources.”

Trevor Ivory, planning partner with law firm DLA Piper
“It is very good news that the government continues to recognise the importance of investing in infrastructure.”

Moda Living managing director Johnny Caddick
“To create the Northern Powerhouse or Midlands Engine, agglomeration to help achieve scale is critical, and that means investing in cross-country and inter-city transport beyond HS2.”

Nick Roberts, Atkins’ UK and Europe chief executive officer
“The chancellor has placed economic growth and quality of life at the heart of his infrastructure decisions. Being clear on these outcomes means that our most pressing needs around housing, roads, railways and digital networks feature at the top of the priority list. The new £2.3bn fund focusing on the link between housing and local infrastructure will help unlock valuable public land whilst ensuring local communities can cope with growing populations.”

Jeremy Blackburn, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors head of policy
“In a recent survey, a quarter of our members told us that providing better infrastructure in Britain’s most remote areas was key to regional growth and delivering more affordable housing. The chancellor’s £23bn National Productivity Investment Fund and Northern Plan for road investment will undoubtedly help to plug this gap, delivering the connectivity needed to power the North and our Midlands Engine.”

Civil Engineering Contractors Association head of external affairs Marie-Claude Hemming
“Today’s Autumn Statement shows that the government is committed to driving economic growth through investment in innovative, world-class infrastructure, and that it will do so in a manner that rebalances the economy.

Renewing existing infrastructure and providing new capacity is fundamental to the long-term prosperity of the UK. As ever, the challenge will be getting infrastructure projects underway quickly.

Joe Sarling, associate director at NLP
“A recent survey put the UK at 27th place in the world for perceived infrastructure quality. To remain competitive during uncertain times ahead, investing in infrastructure as one of the core pillars of the economy will provide a welcome boost.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan
“Commuters who rely on Southern, South-West and South-Eastern services are currently being ripped off with a terrible service. I hope the government will move on rail devolution sooner rather than later.”

Michael Thirkettle, chief executive of construction and property consultancy McBains Cooper
“We were disappointed not to see further investments in training and apprenticeships in the UK construction industry, as we will need to train and re-train UK people in readiness for any restrictions in the supply of skilled foreign workers following Brexit.”

Stephen Radley, director of policy at CITB
“Today’s announcements offer more certainty for the pipeline of work ahead, not just nationally but at a regional and local level in infrastructure and housing.

“This will help to boost business confidence following the uncertainties thrown up by Brexit.

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