Copper Director, Ross Hayman, takes a look at what the recent Autumn Statement indicates for the infrastructure sector…
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond’s first Autumn Statement provided a welcome shot in the arm for UK infrastructure, with the promise of an extra £1.1bn for roads and local transport schemes – in addition to a new National Productivity Investment Fund with £23bn for housing, transport, digital communications, and research and development.
More details of the road schemes will be announced in due course, but so far we know there will be £220m to ease congestion at pinch points on the road network, £27m in development funding for the new Oxford-Cambridge expressway, £100m to accelerate construction of the western section of the East West Rail line, the dualling of the A66 east of Penrith, and business case development funding for six “Local Major” road schemes. Among other announcements, there will also be a new Housing Infrastructure Fund providing £2.3bn to local government to stimulate the building of up to 10,000 new homes.
The Autumn Statement has provided industry and the infrastructure sector with new certainty both about future projects and the government’s commitment to invest, which will be good news for jobs and economic development. The challenge now will be to keep a fierce focus on delivery so that these plans become reality, and to keep engaging the public so people can see the wider benefits this investment will bring to our society and economy.