Turner & Townsend; autumn statement positive for construction

By Tom Wadlow
The UKs Conservative Government has released its annual autumn statement, outlining a number of key policies that will define its relationship with busi...

The UK’s Conservative Government has released its annual autumn statement, outlining a number of key policies that will define its relationship with business for years to come.

Patricia Moore, UK Head of Infrastructure for Turner & Townsend, commented on the statement, made by Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond.

She said: “Infrastructure is clearly still a priority, with Philip Hammond reaffirming that it’s a powerful way of driving broad-based economic growth. We were never expecting a blank cheque, given the huge pressures of Britain’s debt, but to have an outline of funding for specific projects together with the establishment of a working assumption of 1-1.2% GDP for investment planning is a positive move to provide the longer term certainty that our industry craves.

“The successive greenlights for the “three h’s” of infrastructure mega-projects - Hinkley Point C, Heathrow’s third runway, and HS2 (all of which we are involved in) – also give a shot in the arm to Britain’s construction industry and demonstrate official treasury acceptance that infrastructure really means jobs and trade.

“Regardless of project size however, our industry must now focus on getting these projects set up for success, to ensure economic and community value.

“The Autumn Statement is also a sure sign that the new chancellor will continue the devolution agenda and sees infrastructure as a critical enabler to that. Funding of better rail links and transport projects is a strong sign that the government is fully committed to this. Furthermore, the ability of the mayoral authorities to raise finance is an interesting step in the right direction to fiscal devolution.

“We welcome the announcement that more funding is to be allocated to research and development, a driver of innovation to UK businesses. As infrastructure programmes increase in scale and become more complex, innovative management of programmes and advancement of project delivery through big data needs advancing at an unprecedented rate.

“The infrastructure sector must benefit from the announced R&D funding in the future and we look forward to working with our clients to develop their responses to this as well as seeing further details on the government’s industrial strategy.”

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Read the November 2016 issue of Construction Global magazine.

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