The Government must maintain a ‘laser-like’ focus on infrastructure investment to deliver post-Brexit growth, including upgrades to major roads under the ‘High Speed North’ plan, civil engineering contractors have said.
The Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) has called for the Government to commit to increased infrastructure investment and redouble its commitment to boosting the skills capacity of the workforce across the country.
The call was timed to coincide with the meeting on Monday (4 September) between chancellor Phillip Hammond and the elected mayors of Manchester, Liverpool, and Tees Valley.
CECA chief executive Alasdair Reisner said: ‘CECA is a keen advocate of rebalancing the economy. All the UK’s nations and regions must be given the opportunity to become powerhouses in their own right, enabling the whole country to substantially profit from economic growth.
‘To this end, the Government must both commit to and build on the pipeline of projects, particularly in underperforming regions.
‘Substantial work has been undertaken in developing the “Northern Powerhouse” and “Midlands Engine” concepts, and we believe the successful implementation of both will be fundamental to securing post-Brexit growth.
‘In the shorter term, we would particularly like to see the rapid acceleration of the “High Speed North” plan including the A1, A66, and A69 upgrades.’
Mr Reisner was referring to a report last year by the National Infrastructure Commission, which recommended significant investment in both rail and roads in the North of England.
He added: ‘It is clear that poor infrastructure and low skills are contributing to the productivity gap between the South East and the rest of the country.
‘If the Government is to deliver stable economic growth, it is vital that it tackles the skills shortages that are holding our economy back, by radically overhauling the UK’s approach to vocational education in all parts of the country.’