ACE says the budget must recognise importance of infrastructure investment

Ahead of the autumn budget on 29 October, the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) has called on the chancellor Philip Hammond to recognise the importance of infrastructure investment by responding positively to the National Infrastructure Assessment and boosting growth across the sector.

In a letter to the chancellor on behalf of its members, ACE outlined its views for infrastructure and the industry and called on the government to recognise that investment in infrastructure and housing creates jobs, raises incomes and is an important tool for rebalancing the economy. ACE’s letter says: “Construction is estimated to produce £2.84 of economic activity for every £1 spent. Alongside this we need longer term commitments to solving the housing crisis and a positive response to the ambitions of the National Infrastructure Assessment as a foundation for future growth.”

ACE also wants to see the promotion of greater transparency and understanding between the funding of infrastructure investment and the ultimate end-users, members of the public. “Despite housing and infrastructure both being high on their agenda, there is no connection between public perceptions on investment and the benefits which result from it,” ACE says. “Greater transparency would mean that local communities could argue for a fairer distribution of funding for local infrastructure,” said ACE.

The association also reiterated its call for the introduction of dynamic road user charging, “rather than the current emissions-based system where revenues will decline to a soon to be unsustainable level for the maintenance of the national road networks.” ACE also called on the chancellor to publish the updated Government Construction Strategy and allocate the remainder of Construction Sector Deal funding. “This would help the industry work towards government aims outlined in the sector deal and respond to the findings of their Transforming Infrastructure Performance Report,” says ACE.

ACE chief executive Hannah Vickers said: “We have outlined a number of areas which would not only be wins for our industry but wins for society. Infrastructure is vital to economic growth and the chancellor should recognise this by taking positive immediate steps on firstly, the implementation of the recommendations of the National Infrastructure Assessment, and secondly, allocating the remainder of the Construction Sector Deal funding.

“We have also argued that more clarity is required when it comes to infrastructure spending. Increased transparency would help the public to make a connection between investment and infrastructure benefits. It would ensure communities could argue for a fairer distribution of funding for local infrastructure. Finally, it would go some way to fixing the emissions-based funding mechanism for our road network which ultimately isn’t sustainable as more electric and hybrid vehicles come on to our roads.”

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