UK projects still attractive for investors says John Laing

John Laing chief executive Olivier Brousse speaking on TV this week.

Despite continuing uncertainty over major infrastructure investment in the wake of the Brexit vote, John Laing chief executive Olivier Brousse has said that major international players still see the UK as a great venue for investment

Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme, Brousse said that the UK was a safe place to invest particularly with interest rates being so low. Asked whether the Brexit vote changed the situation, Brousse said he didn’t think it had. “Obviously Brexit has created more uncertainty, but at the end of the day if there are new projects, if there are decisions made by the government there is absolutely no doubt that the investment will follow,” Brousse said.

He also said that he thought that there was a real need for infrastructure in the UK. “There are obvious needs for new infrastructure – in trains, roads, energy production, flood defence as we remember sadly from last winter – the needs are obvious because the population is growing, urbanisation is growing and because of climate change,” he said.

Brousse said that the government needed to show more commitment to infrastructure, including in its spending plans. “There are not enough projects being announced or decided by the government but I hope that over the coming weeks they will make decisions on that.

“There are signals that monetary policy only will not be enough to boost the economy so there is a need for fiscal policy in particular more spending in infrastructure. There are some signals that a decision could be made soon on the new runway in the south east and the same on other projects so I think the autumn will be very important to send a clear message to private businesses and the investment community about the fact that Britain is still open for business and still open for projects,” Brousse said.

Brousse’s comments come hard on the heels of similar words from Leo Quinn, chief executive of the UK’s largest builder Balfour Beatty, who said this week that Theresa May needed to come up with an infrastructure action plan by the end of the year or risk threatening the industry’s ability to build the new runways, power stations and rail routes the country desperately needs.

Parliament returns from its summer recess on 5 September for a brief session prior to another recess for the party conference season on 15 September. Theresa May and her ministers will certainly be under close scrutiny at Westminster to see whether some of the signals on infrastructure being sent over the summer will come to fruition. 

After the party conferences, Parliament returns on 10 October for a session which will include the much anticipated Autumn Statement. The construction and infrastructure sector will be hoping for good news on major projects and government spending plans well before then.

If you would like to contact Andy Walker about this, or any other story, please email