Britpave: The British In-Situ Concrete Paving Association

Infrastructure group questions validity of budget promises

Infrastructure group Britpave has questioned the validity of the Chancellor’s promises to invest in the UK’s creaking infrastructure stating that his announcement to invest an extra £3 billion a year from 2015-16 is just an eye-catching headline rather than a real attempt to get Britain moving.

Indeed, as the investment will be from 2015 when a new government will be in power there is no guarantee that it will ever happen.

In each of his previous budgets Chancellor George Osborne has said that he recognises the importance of infrastructure investment and has made welcomed announcements. This one was no exception with him describing UK infrastructure having the “economic arteries” of the country and that investment in the sector will “get growth flowing” to every part of the country.

James Charlesworth, Britpave Chairman said: “Despite headline catching announcements there is no real detail as to how and when the clogged arteries of a deteriorating road network, a dated rail system and airports struggling to cope with demand will be opened. The announcement of the extra £3 billion investment but not until 2015 is an example of how it is all talk and little real action.”

The 2013 budget touched on a capital investment package of £5.5 billion announced in the 2012 autumn statement but gave little detail of when that investment will be made. The progress on the government’s top 40 priority projects was provided but there was little in the way of new projects. There has been no progress on Private Finance 2, the replacement to the Private Finance Investment announced last autumn. The budget also announced a renewed focus on delivering infrastructure projects by injecting more commercial expertise into Infrastructure UK and for the Treasury to progress the National Infrastructure Plan.

Charlesworth continued: “The poor state of the UK infrastructure needs investment now not in two years time. Such investment would give a much-needed boost to the faltering UK economy. The Chancellor has made welcomed announcements but unfortunately these have made little impression upon the UK’s crumbling transport infrastructure.”