Businesses don't think the UK will become more competitive in 2050 than it is now as infrastructure's stalling

Rebecca Smith
Firms are less confident that infrastructure will improve in the coming years
Firms are less confident that infrastructure will improve in the coming years (Source: Getty)

Nearly two thirds of businesses don't think the UK will be any more internationally competitive by 2050 than it is now.

That'll be because of infrastructure stalling over the coming years, according to the 2016 CBI and Aecom infrastructure survey. CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn said the results were "a concern", particularly in the wake of the Brexit vote, when the UK needs to show "it is an attractive place to invest".

While 44 per cent of companies believe the UK's infrastructure has improved over the past five years, and 42 per cent believe the government's policies to date have had a positive impact, just 27 per cent thought it will improve in the next half decade.

Confidence that infrastructure will improve in the coming years has dropped by 16 per cent since last year's research.

Read more: Accountants demand Hammond doubles down on infrastructure

Fairbairn said: "Infrastructure delivery means much more than big political decisions on high profile projects. It means the government keeping its foot on the accelerator across the whole of our infrastructure pipeline."

The UK is currently ranked 24th in the world for the quality of its infrastructure.

While the government gave Heathrow expansion the go-ahead earlier this month, 74 per cent of firms felt immediate progress in aviation connectivity wasn't likely to happen. And just over a quarter believed progress would be made during this parliament. In fact, 73 per cent aren't confident at all that a runway will even be built.

(Source: CBI/AECOM)

Read more: Here's how much Crossrail's Elizabeth Line rebrand actually cost TfL

There's pessimism too over rail. Over half - 59 per cent - of firms feel rail infrastructure won't improve over the course of this parliament. A priority for firms was improved digital connectivity with 75 per cent of the 728 businesses surveyed putting that as critical or important for trains.

(Source: CBI/AECOM)

Fairbairn said: "Announcements are one thing. Seeing tarmac, tracks, and super-fast internet cables being laid is another. It isn't right that nearly one in two firms are dissatisfied with their region's infrastructure, or that confidence in the future is running low, especially when it comes to delivery, the key piece of the infrastructure puzzle."

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