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Infrastructure Can Create New Industrial Heartlands Across The UK

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Companies that build and maintain the UK’s infrastructure predict a revival of former industrial towns and cities as hubs to manufacture and assemble components for transport and infrastructure projects.

Working with economic consultancy Cebr, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association today publishes a research report that highlights the social impact of investment in infrastructure.

The report – The social benefits of infrastructure investment – highlights the positive impact that investing in infrastructure has on the lives of people in the UK, supporting creation of new homes, improving health and rebalancing the economy away from London. One of its key recommendations relates to the opportunities to revive former industrial areas as hubs for manufacturing and logistics to support major infrastructure projects.

Such areas tend to already have good transport links, and an experienced engineering workforce. By looking to site new factories and logistics centres in these locations, there is an opportunity to reinvigorate them, creating new jobs and growth. This would mean that the benefits of investment in major infrastructure projects could be felt far way from the areas where projects are being delivered.

The report contributes to a better understanding of the different ways in which various forms of infrastructure investment affect people’s lives and includes a series of recommendations for Government to consider as it considers its long term spending plans.

The report also recommends:

  • Northern English cities collaborating with one another to increase their global competitiveness.
  • UK Government continuing to fund infrastructure at 1.2 per cent of the GDP fiscal remit and examine the case for higher social and economic outcomes.
  • Recognising that investment outside London supports growth in London and vice versa.

Commenting on the report, CECA Chief Executive Alasdair Reisner said: “Understanding how infrastructure affects people in different ways is vital to good investment decisions.

“We have, in this report gone beyond the usual approach of estimating the economic impacts infrastructure can bring, but instead have considered how its benefits affect people’s lives in different ways.

“The benefits of long-term infrastructure investment are clear. Not only is there a strong economic outcome – previous CECA / CEBR research has found that every £1 billion of infrastructure construction increases overall economic activity by £2.842 billion – but the research published today demonstrates that there is also significant social benefit.

“Well planned infrastructure investment can not only transform how we all live and work, but it has a notable benefit for those areas which have been left behind over the years.

“The wider benefits infrastructure investment can bring are only starting to be recognised by governments and local authorities. We welcome this wider approach, and hope that this work continues to make the case to ensure the delivery of world class infrastructure is for everyone.”