Calm heads needed to make the right decisions for infrastructure

ACE chief executive Dr Nelson Ogunshakin says calm heads are now needed to make the right decisions that the UK needs in a post-Brexit world.

The first thing to say is that after months of uncertainty, the wait is now over. The people of the UK have voted to leave the EU. It is clear that this leave vote is a result of people’s growing dissatisfaction with EU membership and ACE respects that decision. 

Over the past few months we have seen a campaign that was rife with controversy, often fracturing UK communities. ACE hopes that after this decisive vote to leave the EU, that the United Kingdom will heal, moving forward as a united people to a progressive future.

While ACE did not campaign during the referendum for either side of the debate, we ensured that not only were our members informed of potentialities and current realities, but that the views of our members were taken into account. In two surveys before the referendum, the majority of ACE members expressed business concerns about leaving the EU. To address those concerns, ACE will continue to ensure members have the knowledge needed about what the referendum result means for businesses, as well as continuing to advocate for members’ best interests as the situation develops over the coming months.

As ACE chairman Gavin English rightly said: “In a world that is still dealing with the after-effects of the 2008 financial crisis, the decision of the British people to leave the EU will have far ranging political and financial repercussions.”

Businesses can only invest and grow in stable markets and the vote to leave the EU could well destabilise the world’s largest market which could make it more difficult to make the investment decisions needed to develop UK infrastructure. As interesting as the political fall-out from Brexit may be, the task for politicians and industry leaders in London and Brussels is to sit down with calm heads and make the best choices for our country and indeed the continent.

Infrastructure remains a key sector for the UK economy. The development of efficient and effective infrastructure is crucial to the creation of a modern and thriving economy which delivers a better quality of life to citizens in the UK. This referendum result does not change that fact.

The message from the construction and infrastructure sector is clear. After seeing a slowdown in strategic investment and governmental approvals for major projects during the campaign, our industry overwhelmingly wants to get back to business. And quickly. While the coming months will see some uncertainty, ACE will continue to work to ensure that its members’ interests are safeguarded and that their businesses continue to thrive.