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25th September 2012
A joint survey by the CBI and advisory firm KPMG has shown that business leaders in the UK lack confidence in the Governments plans to stimulate infrastructure investment. The survey of 568 respondents, all users, investors and providers of infrastructure across all sectors of the UK, found that Government policy is not yet addressing the key infrastructure challenges. Only 35% of those surveyed believe that proposed government policies will have a positive impact on infrastructure investment over the next five years, down from 43% in last year’s survey.
The decline in confidence comes at a time when the economic conditions continue to decline across the UK. Investment levels have made little progress since the depths of the recession and data for the second quarter of this year show no improvement; business investment fell 1.5% from the first quarter and construction output fell 3% over the same period.
The survey highlights a rising belief among business owners that while Government policy looks good in principle, there continues to be a lack of action in delivering the kind of large scale projects that are firstly going to provide the economy with the boost that it needs, and secondly provide a plan that guarantees the future of our infrastructure networks.
The survey showed that 61% of respondents believe that UK infrastructure compares unfavourably with other EU countries. Concerns over the UK’s transport infrastructure also came to the forefront; only 39% of respondents were satisfied with the domestic rail freight connections and negative balance of 46% were ‘not confident’ that passenger transport would improve over the next five years.
With a target of cutting carbon emissions to 34% below 1990 levels by 2020 and £200bn of investment in energy infrastructure needed over the same period, urgent action is required to deliver improvements to our energy networks. But 67% of those surveyed are not confident that energy infrastructure will not improve over the next five years, despite the Government’s proposed Energy Bill, expected before Parliament this November.
More positively 40% of those surveyed view the UK’s digital infrastructure as ‘above average’, 34% believe that the UK’s fixed line networks are ‘above average’, however many also feel there is need for further improvement, only 26% believe that the speed of the UK networks is ‘above average’.
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