It’s reassuring to see that infrastructure is central to the government’s plans for the recovery. Details of the New Deal are a start and plan to build back greener is very welcome. We look forward to hearing what plans there are for further spending in the Autumn Budget. This will be required if it is going underpin the UK’s economic revival and help us meet our Net Zero commitments.
It is essential that all areas identified for priority spending investment are guided by need and desired social outcomes, and projects should be shovel-worthy, rather than shovel-ready. Informed and considered choices will result in properly prioritised and cost-effective delivery, with associated job creation and world class skills development, strengthening export potential.
When it comes to shovel-worthy, it is essential we protect and create employment, and build new skills whilst providing through this investment the foundations of a net-zero ‘green’ Britain. This involves developing new industries and expanding existing ones, such as nuclear, renewables, hydrogen for energy and transport, carbon capture and storage, connected and autonomous vehicles, electrification of the railways and road transport, and technological transition including the completion of the fibre communications network and the roll-out of 5G mobile.
Existing barriers to inclusion also need to be removed to level-up the UK economy. The New Deal highlights investment in roads, bridges, hospitals and schools, but rail network improvements and station upgrades must be made across the country. Plans to improve towns and cities need to be meaningful and deliver social outcomes, as well as economic growth and jobs.
Mike Haigh, executive chair, Mott MacDonald