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Conservatives best for infrastructure say business leaders in our exclusive poll

New Infrastructure Intelligence survey shows infrastructure leaders back Conservative led government to best deliver for UK infrastructure.

Pulse - Infrastructure Intelligence

Two thirds of business leaders polled by Infrastructure Intelligence say that a Conservative government would be the best General Election outcome for UK infrastructure, with 49% planning to vote Tory.

The Infrastructure Intelligence “Pulse” survey, undertaken in association with global business software provider Deltek, was completed by 120 senior business leaders from infrastructure related businesses including consultancy, contracting, clients and suppliers.

"While the polls continue to suggest a coalition or minority government election outcome, support for a Conservative led administration also points toward status quo and continuation of the policies of the last five years," Antony Oliver, editor, Infrastructure Intelligence.

A large majority, 67%, believe that the Conservative Party are the best bet for infrastructure with only 23% believing that Labour would be a better choice. Just 13 % overall are planning to vote Labour with Liberal Democrats being more popular with 14% of the overall vote despite the party only being considered to be best for infrastructure by 3% of business leaders. 

"While analysis of the major party manifestos clearly shows that there is little policy difference with respect to impact of infrastructure investment in the the UK, industry leaders are clearly behind Tory plans to manage the economy with accelerated deficit reduction," said Infrastructure Intelligence editor Antony Oliver.

"While the polls continue to suggest a coalition or minority government election outcome, support for a Conservative led administration also points toward status quo and continuation of the policies of the last five years," he added. "However, support for the Armitt Commission to streamline planning demonstrates the industry's frustration with constant delay and delivery uncertainty."

Infrastructure industry leaders want to see the momentum on infrastructure investment maintained along with improvements in the economy. Fears over a hiatus in decision making and post election reviews were their biggest concerns.

“Armitt's report speaks common sense; it's important that we take a long term view instead of making short term decisions for political gain,”

“Data shows that the UK economy is on a positive track," said one consulting business manager. “It would be counter-productive to change political, and hence economic, direction at this time. We have a fragile recovery and would like to see some stability.” 

Others echoed the views. “All the other options will influence economic uncertainty, this will have an effect on interest rates and this will influence opportunities and investment,” said the CEO of a contracting firm.

“We have built momentum behind the National Infrastructure Plan and invested accordingly,” said another senior consultant. “Rumours that infrastructure spend could be subject to reviews, emergency budgets and curtailment if we have a change of government are worrying as growth and investment will inevitably stall.”

Many of the respondents highlighted fears over the impact of coalition negotiations causing more uncertainty. “Based on assumption that a coalition will be formed, all pledges made in current manifestos risk being reviewed and delayed.  My biggest concern is the Liberal Democrat policy on aviation which does not allow for anymore runway expansion,” said the CEO of another consultancy.

Despite overwhelming support for the Conservative Party over half of the respondents (54%) support the Labour backed vision for a National Infrastructure Commission to improve planning as recommended by Sir John Armitt.

Full details of the survey results will be published in the next issue of Infrastructure Intelligence monthly magazine, out next week.

“Armitt's report speaks common sense; it's important that we take a long term view instead of making short term decisions for political gain,” said a manager in consultancy. “We need to plan and provide in a manner which is accountable and breaks down departmental barriers. So far Armitt is only proposal that ensures this whilst maintaining political oversight,” agreed another consultant.

Only 29% of respondents support the idea for a new Infrastructure Department and 12.5% said that increasing capacity within the Treasury would be the best approach.

In terms of infrastructure projects 77% urged the next government to press ahead with HS2 with only 16% calling for a review of the scheme. On aviation 46% of business leaders said new capacity for the south should be provided at Heathrow, 22.5% voted for Gatwick and 20% maintain support for a new Thames Estuary airport.

When ranking current projects in order of importance business leaders said that housing, HS2 and Hinkley C nuclear power station were all of most critical importance to the UK.

Full details of the survey results will be published in the next issue of Infrastructure Intelligence monthly magazine, out next week.

If you would like to contact Bernadette Ballantyne about this, or any other story, please email bernadette.ballantyne@infrastructure-intelligence.com:2016-1.

Comments

I hadn't realised that only the rich's opinions were of interest tomorrow! I wonder what percentage of these respondents were struggling on zero hours contracts, have no pension prospects worth mentioning, were struggling to get on the housing ladder, or are facing up to repaying huge tuition fees their parents didn't? More likely they're worried about the top rate of income tax and the 'mansion tax'. Which is fine - but reflects their privileged minority status. Fortunately at least the politicians are interested in everyone's views.

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