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Businesses name energy as biggest infrastructure concern



New research suggests that energy has overtaken transport as the biggest concern for businesses with regards to infrastructure.

Historically, the UK has underinvested in its infrastructure. Research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows that as a percentage of GDP, the UK has consistently invested less in its infrastructure than France, Japan, the United Stated and Canada between 1999 and 2014.

This has left the quality of UK infrastructure below competitors. For 2013-2014, the UK was ranked 28th for infrastructure out of 148 economies by the World Economic Forum.

The report, Connect More, from the CBI and KPMG, suggests that businesses lack optimism that infrastructure will improve. Two out of three (65 per cent) firms surveyed believe that government policies have no tangible impact, or even a negative one. In addition, only a third of businesses (35 per cent) believe policies will make a difference on the ground.

Energy was singled out as the biggest concern from participating businesses. More than three quarters (77 per cent) of respondents report they are not confident of improvements in energy infrastructure over the next five years. A huge 95 per cent also said they were concerned about the cost of energy and 90 per cent are worried about security of supply.

The report recommended that enshrining the Energy Bill into legislation would give investors the confidence to invest in future energy supply.

John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said, “The huge number of businesses concerned about energy supply and costs is alarming. The Government must get the Energy Bill onto the statue books and bring forward secondary legislation to give potential investors the certainty to deliver energy infrastructure we need to keep our lights on in the future.”

Further reading:

A Green New Deal: UK economy needs a detox and green growth

Britons want government to tackle climate change and grow economy



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