Engineers: Think long term in spending review

Joseph Millis
The Government must avoid spending cuts that offer a short-term advantage, but undermine UK infrastructure’s contribution to long term prosperity, productivity and resilience, say leading engineers.

Many government departments that are responsible for infrastructure delivery and upkeep have been asked to produce plans to cut 25-40 per cent from their budgets ahead of Novem­ber’s government spending review.

In its submission, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) praised the govern­ment’s commitment to invest £100bn in infrastructure over the next five years, placing it at the heart of its economic strategy.

It challenged industry to play its part by driving innovation, upskilling the workforce and finding ways to deliver more with less. But it urged Prime Minister David Cameron to support the industry’s evolution by taking a strategic view on spending.

ICE director general Nick Baveystock said: “Government recognises that robust, effective infrastructure benefits society and the economy. While the government must make some tough decisions in November, I hope the progress made on infrastructure… isn’t compro­mised by the race to clear the deficit.

“If we believe in supporting long- term growth and productivity, we have to recognise false economies for what they are. With infrastructure investment, prevention is better than cure.”