Call for infrastructure authority

A47. Picture: Ian Burt

A47. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Manufacturers have called for an infrastructure authority to be set up to encourage 'vitally needed' investment in roads and energy.

The EEF, the manufacturers' organisation said the move was needed to end decades of 'political wrangling and poor planning'.

The business group said there were continued concerns over the UK's 'neglected' road and energy infrastructure, as well as 'prevarication' over expanding airport capacity.

EEF Business Environment Policy Adviser, Chris Richards, said: 'Political prevarication and policy reversals have left Britain in the slow lane in developing its infrastructure for decades. The neglect of our roads, the indecision on expanding airport capacity and, the agonising over high speed rail routes connecting our major cities have only served to exacerbate the feeling that Britain's infrastructure is not geared up to support growth.

'We now have the opportunity to put in place a new independent system that will aid long-term planning supporting more of a consensus based approach in identifying future needs. All political parties need to commit to this in their forthcoming manifestos.

'A UK infrastructure authority would add value by horizon scanning for future challenges, and ensuring debates are backed by trusted analysis.'

Chris Leslie, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said: 'The EEF is right to say we need a new approach to address Britain's long-term infrastructure needs.

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'Labour will establish an independent national infrastructure commission. This would help to end the dither and delay we have seen on the big decisions Britain needs to take to secure its future.

'With business support growing for a new body to identify Britain's infrastructure needs and hold governments to account for meeting them, it's now time other political parties backed the idea too.'