As a second national lockdown approaches, Frank McKenna, Chief Executive of business lobbying organisation, Downtown in Business, is calling on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to use his Spending Review on the 25th November to finally publish the National Infrastructure Strategy and the Infrastructure Finance Review.
Mr. McKenna said: “This imminent Spending Review was supposed to cover three years and the Chancellor has downgraded it to cover just one year. The National Infrastructure Strategy should have been published 12 months ago but everyone is still waiting. If business is going to have any chance of surviving this pandemic then we need more consistency and a stronger plan, not just for the short term, but for the medium and longer term.
It’s three weeks before the Chancellor gets up in Parliament and announces his plans for our country’s future. Instead of the short-term inconsistent gimmicks that we got from his Winter Economic Plan we need solid proposals that help build the economy through infrastructure investment.”
McKenna continued: “This Chancellor introduced an Eat Out to Help Out scheme which is blamed for spreading the virus, a stop-start furlough scheme which caused mass redundancies, and a Kick Start Scheme which hasn’t started any jobs.
The Chancellor’s statement on the 25th November is a chance to provide concrete plans for investing in public transport, achieve carbon-neutrality, enabling a secure energy supply, become a digital superpower, harnessing and supporting the private sector, and helping the North of England more. Instead of the Government banging on about a levelling up agenda, we really need a ‘level with us’ agenda – less spin, more substance.”
He continued: “The Infrastructure Finance Review should provide a new framework for private sector involvement in infrastructure projects, as well as outline the UK’s plan for a post-Brexit successor to the European Investment Bank. It is an ideal opportunity to harness our country’s financial entrepreneurialism and sophisticated regulation. The much-anticipated National Infrastructure Strategy is a chance to describe the major improvements our country is going to see in the coming years and help support a wide range of businesses for decades to come.”
Frank finally stated: “A solid investment in infrastructure set over years, not months, will lift businesses across numerous sectors, the positive impact such development will have on the supply chain and communities where it will be applied cannot be underestimated. What we need now is less ‘dishy Rishi’ and more ‘solid Sunak’.