The Government’s commitment to improving the UK’s infrastructure is not translating into optimism, with transport firms dissatisfied with the pace of delivery and not confident that things will improve in the near future.
According to the 2017 CBI/AECOM Infrastructure Survey, a record number of companies are dissatisfied with the overall state of infrastructure in their region. Over half (54%) are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, an 8 percentage point increase on last year’s survey.
Transport providers in the rail (61%) and roads (50%) sectors are dissatisfied with infrastructure delivery and the policy environment. In the aviation sector 37% are dissatisfied but only 25% satisfied.
A majority of firms in each of these sectors are not confident that transport infrastructure will improve over this Parliament.
CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn said: ‘We’ve seen a real commitment from the Government on infrastructure over the last year, from decisions on Heathrow and the A303 to pledges to scale up the supply of housing and clean energy.
‘But our survey shows this is not translating into optimism about future improvements among both firms and the public, who are united in their concern about the pace of delivery for new projects. We’ve now reached crunch time for the UK’s infrastructure.’
Nearly all (92%) transport firms cited delivery of the current Road Investment Strategy as critical or important, followed closely by delivering improvements to local road networks (88%) and the delivery of the current CP5 rail enhancement programme (88%).
Across all sectors nearly three quarters of firms (74%) doubt that infrastructure will improve over this Parliament.
For the first time, the survey included the public’s views on infrastructure. Their opinions closely mirror those of companies, with 76% doubting that any improvement will occur during this Parliament while only 26% believe delivery is satisfactory, compared to 20% of firms .
Richard Robinson, AECOM's chief executive, civil infrastructure, Europe, Middle East, India and Africa, said: 'Given the strong correlation between infrastructure investment and economic growth, it is hardly surprising that when infrastructure decisions are delayed, it is UK business that feels the pain.'