Businesses expect UK energy infrastructure to worsen as political uncertainty discourages investment

 
Chris Papadopoullos
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Plans to build a tunnel under Stonehenge to relieve the A303 bottleneck are under consideration
British businesses see politicians as more of a hindrance than a help when it comes to improving the UK’s infrastructure, with the vast majority wanting power to be transferred to an independent commission.

Two separate surveys published this morning show business leaders slamming Westminster over the state of Britain’s transport and energy capacities. A poll by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) shows that over two-thirds of businesses expect energy infrastructure to worsen over the next five years, while 57 per cent predict that transport will decline.

The CBI figures reveal that 71 per cent of infrastructure providers see political uncertainty due to the electoral cycle as significantly discouraging investment, while 97 per cent see it as at least somewhat discouraging.

As a result, 89 per cent of firms want to see the creation of an independent infrastructure body that would be less concerned about the electoral cycle, according to the CBI.

Meanwhile a separate report published today by manufacturers’ organisation EEF also backs the creation of a permanent UK infrastructure authority.

“These results highlight widespread concern that the quality of business critical infrastructure is declining rather than improving, with the deterioration of the road network of particular concern,” said EEF chief executive Terry Scuoler.

EEF wants the government to increase road investment three-fold as well as bringing forward delayed road projects including upgrades to the A303 past Stonehenge and the A1 stretching from London to Edinburgh.

The CBI found that 96 per cent of firms believe political uncertainty is discouraging investment, while 93 per cent identify political rhetoric as a problem, damaging confidence.

“Reversing decades of under-investment in our national infrastructure is at the heart of the government’s long-term economic plan,” said a Treasury spokesperson.

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