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MPA repeats call for accelerated delivery of infrastructure investment

Nigel Jackson

Association frustrated by gap between positive public statements and lack of action on the ground

NIGEL Jackson, chief executive of the Mineral Products Association (MPA), has again highlighted the urgent need for government to accelerate infrastructure investment in the forthcoming March Budget, with a particular focus on local transport and road maintenance schemes.

Mr Jackson said the announcements made in the Autumn Statement to fund more local transport schemes and road maintenance work needed to be converted into live projects this year and be sustained into 2014/15 and beyond.


‘There is growing frustration at the continuing gap between the positive public statements about infrastructure investment and the lack of meaningful action on the ground,’ he said.

‘Office of National Statistics (ONS) data shows that infrastructure construction declined by 15% in 2012. The additional road spending announced in the Autumn Statement was welcome but amounted to less than the record 45% decline in road construction last year.’

He continued: ‘As the London School of Economics Growth Commission has recently reported ‘underinvestment and inadequate maintenance characterize the provision of roads, railways and airports’.

‘What was once seen as a long-term issue has become a short-term matter of real concern. Fixing the supply side of the economy is a necessary precursor to fixing the economy and better infrastructure is central to that.’

Mr Jackson said there were clearly persistent and long-standing institutional and structural blockages in the way of delivery of major transport and critical energy projects in the UK, which have to be addressed in the national interest.

‘Time is of the essence and a far greater sense of urgency and a ‘can do’ approach is needed if bigger and more costly problems are to be avoided over the next few years. If ever there was a time for these key strategic issues to be gripped, it is now,’ he said.

‘A clear short-term delivery plan, that translates our acknowledged road, rail, aviation, energy and other utility needs into growth activity, is urgently required if confidence is to be rebuilt to encourage private sector investment in housing and other forms of development.’


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