How does improving infrastructure and boosting productivity go hand in hand? Read the full report
Infrastructure provides the essential foundations business needs to deliver jobs, growth and prosperity for all. Improving infrastructure across the country will therefore be crucial to addressing regional disparities and driving productivity.
The CBI’s new report, Shaping Regional Infrastructure, draws on two reports published in 2016, Unlocking Regional Growth and the CBI/AECOM infrastructure survey, together with conversations with CBI members across the country with the aim of informing a conversation between business, government and broader stakeholders about how these groups can work together to deliver the infrastructure needed to drive growth and prosperity across the country.
The report sets out six strategic infrastructure priorities for each of the English regions, and the following four cross-cutting priorities which are common to all regions:
- Linking regions to harness growth: Businesses across the country cite the need to improve connectivity within and between regions. For example, reducing travel times between cities in the North of England, via the best mode of transport, could provide access to a working population of up to 16 million, matching the number within an hour of London today.
- Connections with international markets: Firms also recognise the need to better link regions to international markets to increase and encourage export capabilities. To this end, businesses cite the need for a long-term aviation strategy within a fully integrated transport system, alongside clear improvements in surface access to ports and airports.
- Regional governance: In addition, businesses across the country are seeking greater clarity on where future infrastructure decisions will sit for the region in which they operate. Business confidence in devolution is highest in the regions where there has already been the greatest clarity, for example across the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine. While we should not attempt to roll out a one-size-fits-all approach, it is essential that each part of the country has the means and ambition to take forward a shared vision of its own, which complements a long-term national strategy.
- Joined up infrastructure: Finally, businesses in all regions voice a need for a more joined up and strategic approach to planning and delivery across the different types of infrastructure. In particular, the need to better link up local housing plans with economic infrastructure was seen as a priority, with businesses also keen to highlight the role of technology in improving the UK’s infrastructure.
As the UK begins its exit from the EU, improved infrastructure will be needed to better link our cities and regions with each other, as well as with the rest of the world. As highlighted by Shaping Regional Infrastructure, the CBI and its members will play a key role in this discussion to deliver growth that is felt in all parts of the country.
Read the infrastructure priorities for London