In a letter and article published in today's Sunday Telegraph, EEF spearheads the urgent call for the UK to establish an independent infrastructure body. This body would identify and kick start the debate on our long term infrastructure requirements as a country.
A full copy of the letter can be found here with a list of the organisations who backed us in making this call. Alongside EEF this included:
There were also a number of organisations who expressed support but were unable to sign a letter within the timescales.
We argued that any established organisation should be based on five key principles:
- Accountability to Parliament not Government – giving it independence
- Rest on strong engagement and consultation with the public, businesses, government, political and other stakeholders
- Look ahead at the UK's need for infrastructure, set these out in detail and kick start the process to find potential solutions
- Have ownership of the methodology to appraise suggested projects in each sector in a uniform way
- Leave final decisions on which projects to take ahead with Government and Parliament
In recent years, to speed up the delivery of projects, governments have sought to streamline the process introducing reforms such as changes to the way strategic roads are managed, smoothing the planning process for nationally significant projects and setting up the Airports Commission to provide a recommendation on maintaining Britain's aviation hub status.
This is a good start; however the time has come for the UK to start identifying the challenges and potential solutions of tomorrow not simply tackling yesterday's long delayed projects.
This is important as business investment, sustainable high skilled jobs and economic growth are all linked to the provision and maintenance of key infrastructure, not to mention ensuring we can successfully meet our environmental targets. Current infrastructure plans barely stretch beyond the next Parliament.
The letter today, signed by a broad range of business organisations, the TUC, airports and other companies, seeks to:
- establish the lack of a long term infrastructure plan as a clear issue and something which is not limited to just one political party
- put a line in the sand on some basic principles that any proposals in this space should have if it is to prove successful
- amplify this issue as an important one that all parties need to have a solution to come the next election
EEF felt now was the right time to make these points clear as we are fast approaching the next General election; all political parties need to show leadership on this issue, as we said in the letter:
We all want a more productive, competitive and environmentally sustainable economy. This demands a new way of thinking about how we develop and design the world class infrastructure needed to support it.
Pressing need for an independent infrastructure body - final letter-1.pdf (79.62 kb)