On the State Opening of Parliament, which gave an indication of the Government’s legislative agenda for the next year, Dr Nelson Ogunshakin, chief executive of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) has made the following immediate statement:
"Although there is a need to let the dust settle for a closer analysis, today’s Queen’s Speech suggests that the government’s plans for the coming year look promising for UK social and economic infrastructure and that the most important of ACE’s messages are making an impression in Whitehall.
"The devolution agenda receives a welcome boost with new powers for Wales and Local Authorities in England, with control of infrastructure issues and councils gain control of business rates in Wales and Local Growth and Jobs Bills, respectively. Government will also seek to put broadband access on the same footing as traditional utilities in a Digital Economy Bill, while a Modern Transport Bill will also provide a more cohesive approach to infrastructure as diverse as roads, rail and runways. Finally, ACE is pleased to see that the Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill was announced, aiming to deliver on the government’s plans to put the National Infrastructure Commission on a statutory footing and deliver a longer-term approach to infrastructure delivery.
"ACE will now seek to work with government on these and other issues arising from today’s Queen’s Speech to ensure the promise suggested by this agenda becomes a reality. Our members expect all parts of the government to fulfil their roles and enable the upgrades to the UK’s infrastructure that we need to compete economically in the 21st century global marketplace."