Government unveils £375 billion infrastructure plan

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
5 December 2013

The UK government has unveiled a National Infrastructure Plan worth £375 billion over the next two decades.

The plan includes projects covering roads, rail, energy, flood defences and the rollout of superfast broadband.

No new cash has been announced, but the government said it would be doubling a target for the sale of financial and corporate assets to £20 billion by 2020, which could include sale of the government’s stake in Eurostar.

At the same time six insurance companies have announced plans to collectively invest £25 billion in infrastructure projects over the next five years.

The plan includes a deal with Hitachi and Horizon to develop a new nuclear power station in North Wales, the redevelopment of the railway station at Gatwick Airport, an aim to make the UK “a world centre for the development and testing of driverless cars”, and incentives for the development of offshore wind power generation.

Chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: “This is great news for the people of the UK because after years of neglect, the UK’s energy, road, rail, flood defence, communications and water infrastructure needs renewal. It will boost the UK economy creating jobs and making it easier to do business.”

Katja Hall, CBI chief policy director, said: “It’s encouraging to see more detail on the timescales and financing of national infrastructure projects, but this still feels like a very long and hopeful Christmas list, rather than a true set of priorities.

“While this plan may look good on paper, now we urgently need to see action on the ground.”

Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Chris Leslie said: “Scheme after scheme has been announced to great fanfare but then little actually delivered. Yet another announcement from ministers about possible future investment will do little to reassure business that warm words will finally translate into diggers in the ground.”

Meanwhile, the government has also published details of public contract opportunities worth £177 billion, covering 19 sectors, which are up for grabs.

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