Brexit Infrastructure Group's appeal to the main parties

Sir John Armitt, at the head of the Brexit Infrastructure Group, has written an open letter to the heads of the main political parties, urging their continued commitment to infrastructure after the General Election. The letter echos the Three-Point Plan the Brexit Group published in March this year, highlighting how the economy is at risk if UK infrastructure suffers a 'self-inflicted skills crisis'. It also sets out a reminder to the main Parties that Brexit is threatening the loss of project funding from the European Investment Bank, which invested €30 billion in UK infrastructure from 2011-2016.

'We believe the government should seek to maintain membership of EIB post-Brexit.  If this proves impossible, government should begin discussion with industry now on the options for filling this gap. We stand ready to help with this process,' the Brexit Group's letter says.

The Brexit Infrastructure Group was set up by the Institution of Civil Engineers to advise government on infrastructure as the Brexit negotiations with Europe get under way. In a new report published in March, the group points out that every £1 invested in infrastructure produces £2.84 in overall economic benefit. Good infrastructure is essential for improving the UK's productivity, but Brexit is threatening to damage the UK's ability to deliver government's £500 billion pipeline of projects, the group says.

The letter was released on the same day that the Institution of Civil Engineers published a new manifesto for infrastructure, pointing out five key things for the Parties to consider after the Election:

  • Infrastructure is placed at the heart of economic policy: The UK needs a long-term strategic approach to infrastructure provision that can cope with future uncertainties.
  • Brexit negotiations consolidate the UK’s status as an attractive location for infrastructure investment: Ensuring that the Brexit negotiation process does not disrupt the healthy pipeline of projects and established models will mean that investors, financiers and developers will continue to have a positive view of the UK.
  • The UK avoids a self-inflicted skills crisis:  Guaranteeing the status of EU nationals working in the UK.
  • The UK is allowed to become a global leader in infrastructure innovation and technology:  Ensuring that infrastructure remains a priority in any Industrial Strategy, with a programme to exploit the UK’s existing advantages in innovation and technology.
  • Productivity and regional growth are driven through the nation’s infrastructure: There is a direct connection between the efficiency and effectiveness of our infrastructure and productivity within communities across the UK. All parties should commit to delivering a Modern Industrial Strategy so that infrastructure services increase productivity.

ICE director general, Nick Baveystock, said: 

“Effective, efficient and innovative infrastructure is at the heart of a thriving, successful and modern economy. The transport energy and housing that we all depend on would simply not function without it. That is why we are asking all parties now running for election to focus their efforts so we continue to deliver world-leading projects, on time and on budget, that change people's lives for the better.

“If enacted the five areas in our election manifesto would provide the stable foundations for the UK’s infrastructure sector to implement the National Needs Assessment and avoid serious pitfalls in a politically uncertain world. When infrastructure projects flourish, the entire economy benefits. Every 1,000 direct jobs created by the delivery of new infrastructure boosts wider employment by over 3,000 jobs.”