The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is calling for major improvements to regional infrastructure to boost productivity and help England’s regions improve links with international markets.
The Shaping regional infrastructure report, published today (20 April), found CBI members want to see a more joined-up approach to delivery across different types of infrastructure, from housing and energy, to transport.
It argued for improved links between regional airports and ports. It said this will be even more important in a post-Brexit economy, giving firms better access to a broader labour pool, creating more efficient supply chains and improving links to new and existing international markets.
The CBI stated improvements to infrastructure could also play an important role in driving regional growth. The report estimates that if each region of England grew at the same pace as the best performing area in each region, between 2004 and 2014, the gain to England’s economy could be £175bn by 2024.
CBI infrastructure director Rhian Kelly said: “England’s infrastructure is the arteries and veins without which the UK, its economy and businesses, would not function. But with only a quarter of firms satisfied with the state of their region’s infrastructure, it is vital the pace of action and improvements is stepped up.
“Infrastructure is a key driver of productivity. By making it easier for staff to get to work and by connecting companies to their customers, markets overseas and supply chains, we could do a great deal to lift England’s productivity.
“Moreover, ramping up trade with international partners – old, new and in all corners of the world – will be crucial to making a success of Brexit. This makes it doubly important to better connect firms to these markets.”
FairFuelUK called for a significant increase in infrastructure spending ahead of the budget in March, while more recently the RHA went on the attack over claims that road building simply generated more congestion.