Thursday 29 October 2015 12:00 am

CBI/AECOM poll: infrastructure is a top concern for businesses trying to invest

Nearly two-thirds of British businesses want the government to speed up delivery of promised infrastructure projects, according to a new poll out today from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and AECOM, the infrastructure services firm.

Almost all – 94 per cent – of the firms surveyed said that the quality of infrastructure was a “key deciding factor in planning their investments”. But more than half of respondents told the CBI they did not think they would “see necessary upgrades in the next five years”.

Commenting on the results, CBI director-general John Cridland said: “The arteries of modern Britain are working overtime.”

“Whether it’s our creaking railways, clogged roads, and crowded runways, or our digital links and the energy to power them struggling to keep up, businesses now want the government to deliver the large scale upgrades that it has made ambitious strides towards,” he said, adding, “Businesses, communities and the whole country simply can’t afford the cost of inaction.”

The CBI claimed that there are £411bn worth of pending infrastructure upgrades “fundamental” to the country’s future, including a new runway in the South East, upgrades to the rail network, and investment in new energy sources.

Ninety-one per cent of firms polled said a new runway was important, while 45 per cent cited rail improvements and 97 per cent demanded more energy investment.

Richard Robinson, an executive at AECOM, said: ““Political procrastination over infrastructure threatens economic growth and jeopardises investment. When infrastructure decisions are deferred, business takes the hit. The challenge for Government is to build business confidence, fostering a financial and operational climate that accelerates delivery.”