The Association for Consultancy and Engineering, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, the Construction Products Association and the Institution of Civil Engineers have produced a joint budget submission ahead of George Osborne's first April Budget.
The paper proposes the following:
Regulatory reform: There is a need to reform the way we regulate the infrastructure sector to meet its changing future demands. Five-year regulatory periods have helped facilitate investment, but in some cases – such as nuclear and offshore wind - they are not long enough. In addition, through efficiencies in the procurement process, we believe significant savings can be made to the benefit of the public purse.
Facilitate private sector investment: The need to address the fiscal deficit is self-evident, and must be done in a manner that builds confidence to both industry and investors. We believe the Government must identify clear, cohesive plans to encourage innovative private sector investment in infrastructure. In particular, we call on the Government to urgently announce the nature and scope of the Green Investment Bank, as key to drawing in investment to large-scale infrastructure projects.
Increased transparency: We welcome the Coalition’s emphasis on transparency across all levels of Government. Clear accountability in the decision-making process is essential to both the delivery of Government’s stated priorities, and to the delivery of construction projects on the ground.
A balanced localism: The Government’s commitment to a localism agenda is clearly a key aspect of its reform programme. Government seems to recognise that a successful approach to strategic infrastructure investment will involve a co-ordinated approach to large-scale projects on a national level and this has been acknowledged in the Localism Bill. Government must ensure
that it balances its localism agenda with the larger-than-local priorities needed in infrastructure investment.
Support sustainability in the sector: The Government should work with industry to identify means by which low carbon measures in the industry are both measured and rewarded, as a means of driving sustainability and positioning the UK ahead of its competitors in this rapidly growing sector.