Around a third of government's major infrastructure projects are at risk of never being realised, MPs have warned today.
A report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) highlights that the Major Projects Authority, which merged with Infrastructure UK at the start of the year to become the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, had rated 34 per cent of government's major projects as either ‘red’ or ‘amber-red’ in June 2015.
These ratings mean that successful delivery is either unachievable or doubtful without intervention.
The PAC also warned that the merger between the two organisations had created a body that was too much of a champion for government, meaning that nobody was being critical or challenging enough of project prospects.
"There is clearly a role within government for an independent organisation that challenges departments about their plans and projects," said Meg Hillier, chair of the PAC. "One of our concerns is that this important function is not weakened or undermined following the creation of the Infrastructure and Projects Authority."
City A.M. contacted the Infrastructure and Projects Authority for comment but is yet to receive a response.
Ross Campbell, director of public sector at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, added:
There is a big challenge in balancing the government’s target of getting the nations’ finances to a surplus by 2020, with the need to invest for the future. It is therefore a serious concern that the movement of Infrastructure UK out of the Treasury, and its merger with the Major Projects Authority represents a reduction in focus and expertise on infrastructure at the centre of government. Given the importance of good national infrastructure to both the economy, this feels like something the UK can ill afford.
In Wednesday's Budget, chancellor George Osborne announced a slew of plans to support infrastructure projects, including High Speed 3 between Manchester and Leeds and Crossrail 2.