The boss of London’s biggest business lobby group will today slam the government’s “disease of short-termism” in a stinging attack at the body’s annual conference.
John Dickie, the chief executive of BusinessLDN, will warn government today that dithering on Transport for London funding, HS2 and a raft of other infrastructure projects is “undermining London’s reputation as a place to do business.”
The rebuke of government policy comes after a string of infrastructure u-turns and delays, with reports emerging this week that HS2 – the costly high speed rail service originally intended to run from Leeds and Manchester to Euston – may only run from Birmingham to Old Oak Common, a new station near Willesden Green.
“Every such handbrake turn on long-term investment leads to higher costs, poorer services or both. This British disease of short-termism, constantly changing decisions over long-term, vital infrastructure capabilities, needs to be cured, and cured soon,” Dickie will charge.
Whitehall’s own internal infrastructure review body has given a raft of UK infrastructure projects a “red” rating, effectively meaning the projects have irredeemably slipped on timings, costs or objectives.
Dickie will also blast the ongoing lack of clarity about funding for Transport for London, with a medium-term funding agreement expiring just before the Mayoral elections next year.
“A critical challenge for London is planning for, and funding, a public transport network that can support sustainable growth. We cannot afford to stand still. And yet we still do not have a funding agreement with government for Transport for London’s capital expenditure,” he will say.
The conference kicks off this morning at a venue in King’s Cross.