This year’s CBI/AECOM Infrastructure Survey makes one thing crystal clear: in the face of uncertainty, businesses want to see infrastructure delivery at the heart of the government’s agenda.
15 November 2017
CBI/AECOM Infrastructure Survey: Foundations for growth
Now in its seventh year, the CBI/AECOM Infrastructure Survey provides an overview of business sentiment towards overall UK infrastructure.
The message from the 2017 CBI/AECOM Infrastructure Survey was clear; while the past year has seen welcome progress on delivering high-quality infrastructure, from the Clean Growth Strategy and the £500 billion infrastructure pipeline to its decision to build a new runway at Heathrow, more action is needed to improve the UK’s infrastructure, with 96% of businesses seeing it as important to the government’s agenda.
While businesses agree further action is needed, the survey reveals a confidence gap, with only one in five firms (20%) satisfied with pace of infrastructure delivery and almost three quarters (74%) in doubt that infrastructure will improve in this Parliament.
This sentiment is shared among the public. For the first time, this year’s survey included public views on infrastructure, which showed only 26% of the public believe delivery is satisfactory and 76% doubt any improvement will occur in this Parliament.
Maintaining infrastructure’s priority status will, therefore, be crucial to turn recent momentum into delivery.
Looking specifically at energy, businesses are on balance not confident in improvements in energy infrastructure, however there has been a marked uptick in confidence since last year’s survey. Regarding business’ energy priorities for the early years of this Parliament, setting out a post-2020 power sector investment framework is the most critical priority (68%), while energy providers are unanimous in seeing the importance of a clear and long-term energy plan. The recently published Clean Growth Strategy is therefore very welcome, providing a clear direction of travel for the sector.
When considering the key energy issues to address when forming a future UK-EU relationship, 86% of all respondents saw the Internal Energy Market (IEM) as a clear priority. This was closely followed by regulatory equivalence at 76%.
The past year has seen some landmark moments for power generation, with the first coal-free day in Britain since the 1880s, the decision to go ahead with Hinkley Point C and contracts awarded for 3GW of new offshore wind capacity at record low costs. The UK government must continue to deliver quality infrastructure as a key pillar of a modern and effective Industrial Strategy. Delivering infrastructure commitments today will unlock prosperity in the future, boosting the UK’s competitiveness globally whilst improving productivity and living standards at home.
For more information on this report, please contact Tania.Kumar@cbi.org.uk