The Chancellor of the Exchequer gave his Autumn Statement this week, reflecting many of the issues and ambitions that ACE has been working towards on behalf of our industry.
The theme of investment in infrastructure fitted strongly with the views ACE have put to government and the Treasury over the last two years. ACE has promoted this message throughout government via its public affairs activities, such its investment into infrastructure roundtables, as well as its policy papers on infrastructure funding and overcoming barriers to investment.
- Pension Funds will be approached to fund a further £20billion of infrastructure investment, possibly rising to £40billion in the next two years. This move reflected a number of the discussions that have taken place at ACE's investment roundtables, which have bought together civil servants, major infrastructure investors, infrastructure deliverers, as well as the big four accountancy firms to examine how to unlock investment into infrastructure.
- George Osborne announced plans to make £11 billion available from the public purse to fund projects to boost growth, including several rail investment projects. This echoes the findings of ACE’s and CECA’s Transport survey that warned weak transport infrastructure would hurt business growth prospects.
- The launch of the updated National Infrastructure Plan saw over 500 projects unveiled in a 10 year pipeline, which should help to deliver further certainty to industry, especially as infrastructure will now be focused on by a new Cabinet Committee. This committee will be chaired by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander MP. ACE will continue to take part in the Infrastructure Alliance (with partners CECA, the Construction Products Association and ICE) to deliver industry collaboration to government on infrastructure, such as the IUK charter and the progress report in March 2012 on the achievement of the charter aims.
- There were some positive announcements on opening up public procurement for smaller firms. ACE will continue working with government and all the political parties at national and local level, further developing ACE’s recommendations such as in ACE’s collaborative, Innovative, local paper.
- The government will give further support through UKTI to enable up to 50,000 SMEs to enter international markets and compete globally. ACE will be looking to give further support (as well as a chance for members to give their thoughts) on this and all the other key announcements from the Autumn Statement when the Business Secretary, Dr Vincent Cable MP, attends ACE’s annual conference on May 23 2012.
ACE’s has undertaken a comprehensive analysis of the Autumn Statement, the updated National Infrastructure Plan and the OBR report, which can be found here.