UK infrastructure bottleneck stifles investment and jobs

 
Tim Wallace
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TACKLING Britain’s crumbling infrastructure would create jobs and boost competitiveness at a critical moment, businesses said in a survey out today.

But 98 per cent of 447 companies surveyed see the complexities of the current planning system as a barrier to infrastructure investment.

Fifty-eight per cent of businesses think the UK’s infrastructure compares unfavourably against competing nations in the EU, according to a report from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and KPMG.

“If we are serious about boosting exports – especially in emerging markets and achieving sustainable growth – the government must put infrastructure investment firmly at the top of its agenda,” said the CBI’s John Cridland.

“We need ministerial decisions that get spades in the ground and people working now. There are large amounts of business capital waiting to be unlocked if the government achieves a step-change on transport, for example with the introduction of road tolls.”

The government’s new planning framework is expected to introduce a bias in favour of development.

Just over 40 per cent of the firms surveyed think the coalition’s policies on infrastructure development will have a positive impact, while 33 per cent said it will affect them negatively.