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The state we're in

Delivery, delivery, delivery" seems to be the current UK government’s mantra when it comes to infrastructure. And yet, the verdict of businesses on the government’s track record of delivering infrastructure projects is fairly damning. A recent survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and KPMG, Connect More, garnered the views of more than 500 users, investors and providers of infrastructure.

Delivery, delivery, delivery" seems to be the current UK government’s mantra when it comes to infrastructure. And yet, the verdict of businesses on the government’s track record of delivering infrastructure projects is fairly damning. A recent survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and KPMG, Connect More, garnered the views of more than 500 users, investors and providers of infrastructure.

Only 35% of those canvassed thought government policies would have a positive effect on infrastructure over the next five years – a lower proportion than in 2011. And this is despite the prevailing view that, over the past few years, government policies have made the UK a better place to invest.

What's the problem?

There is good news, and there is bad. On the up side, in October 2010 the government launched a National Infrastructure Plan (NIP) via Treasury body Infrastructure UK. This set out to identify the nation’s infrastructure priorities. On the down side, for too long the NIP did little but dish up fodder for the government’s political opponents. In February 2013, it was revealed that only seven of 576 priority projects named in the NIP were by then ‘completed’ or ‘operational’.

However, sceptical views of the NIP have altered somewhat since the appointment of Lord Deighton as Commercial Secretary to the Treasury in January 2013. He was given responsibility for infrastructure delivery. As chief executive of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, Lord Deighton claimed much of the credit for the capital’s successful hosting of the 2012 spectacular. Hopes are high that he will raise the bar for UK infrastructure.

"Lord Deighton has been a change for good," insists Darryl Murphy, partner of global infrastructure at KPMG. "He recognised that the NIP was just a list – it was not a plan – and he’s devising a transparent programme for delivery. He got the message that the government needed to put its foot on the accelerator."

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