Budget 2013: £3bn infrastructure boost branded ‘far too late’
Chancellor George Osborne’s has announced a £3 billion boost to infrastructure starting after the next election – which critics claim comes too late
Announced in today’s budget, the policy could see an additional £18 billion invested in UK infrastructure over the next decade but the funding will only kick in from 2015. The government will reveal details of how the money will be spent in June.
Osborne told the House of Commons: ‘By using our extra savings from government departments, we will boost our infrastructure plans by £3 billion a year from 2015-16.
That’s £15 billion of extra capital spending over the next decade. Because by investing in the economic arteries of this country, we will get growth flowing to every part of it.’
RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn complained the promised £3 billion- a-year additional spending in infrastructure was ‘far too late for many businesses tha are struggling now.’
He said: ‘Our members have told us repeatedly that the success of infrastructure projects are about delivery on the ground. RICS believe government should spend more time and resource in supporting business to gain access to these public sector projects.’
The Civil Engineering Contractors Association warned delaying introduction until after the next election left the investment ‘hostage to fortune with any change in government.’
Director of external affairs Alasdair Reisner criticised the budget’s lack of detail concerning new projects. He said: ‘What we really need is activity on the ground now, and our initial view appears to suggest that there has been no new support in the short term for infrastructure construction.’
Glenigan economist Allan Wilen added: ‘As was witnessed with the Building Schools for the Future Programmea change in administration can lead to a change in spending priorities. This is especially disappointing given that the industry has been looking for the rapid deployment of “shovel ready” schemes.’
Turner & Townsend public sector director Jon Poore said: ‘Osborne’s promise of an extra £3 billion of public sector infrastructure investment per year from 2015/16 is eye-catching, but also an acknowledgement that his plan for the private sector to step into the breach is struggling.
‘Public sector infrastructure spending should not be an indiscriminate spraying of investment around the country. Without focus and carefully costed plans, the Chancellor might as well send a fleet of RAF helicopters to drop bundles of banknotes.’