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12 UK Tier 1 Construction Contractors Publish 'A Blueprint For Growth'

04th June 2024


Twelve of the UK’s biggest contractors have published a series of recommendations for the next government ahead of the 4 July general election.

The Blueprint for Growth outlines 12 infrastructure and construction priorities to boost the UK’s growth and productivity. It has been produced by AtkinsRéalis, Balfour Beatty, BAM, Costain, Galliford Try, Laing O’Rourke, Mace, Morgan Sindall, Mott MacDonald, Vinci, VolkerWessels and WSP.

These contractors and consultants have a collective annual UK turnover of more than £25bn and directly employ over 100,000 people across the country.

The recommendations are:

  1. Depoliticise infrastructure: adopt the recommendations from the National Infrastructure Assessment undertaken by the National Infrastructure Commission, commit to 30% government funding for critical national infrastructure, and empower the National Infrastructure Commission to lead the implementation of the strategy with a 10–20-year horizon, underpinned by an act of Parliament.
  2. Appoint a Cabinet Minister responsible for infrastructure: with a coordinating role across the government and a specific focus on ensuring delivery of both the 10–20-year strategy and the addressing of barriers to the delivery of critical national infrastructure.
  3. Increase private investment in public infrastructure: address obstacles such as policy stability and uncertainties in the planning system to attract more private investment in UK infrastructure and consult on the development of a new financing mechanism to sustainably replace PFI.
  4. Timely, holistic decision-making on key areas: such as new nuclear, carbon capture, utilisation and storage and offshore wind to maintain momentum and give industry and investors confidence, with strategic investments in supporting infrastructure such as ports and key highways undertaken simultaneously.
  5. Improve budget setting for infrastructure schemes: re-evaluate decision-making
    practices to ensure accurate estimations of costs, benefits and completion times for major projects.
  6. Efficient risk allocation: allocate risks efficiently during project procurement to avoid prolonged negotiations and ensure fair distribution of risk ownership.
  7. Investment continuity: avoid delaying investments in projects such as HS2 and Lower Thames Crossing to prevent increased costs and uncertainty in the infrastructure sector.
  8. Simplify the judicial review process: simplify the process for automatically refusing Judicial Reviews where a high-quality examination has already occurred during the Development Consent Order consultation and scrutiny, and establish set timescales for resolving Judicial Reviews and their redetermination processes to avoid delays.
  9. Mandate consideration of the national interest: giving local authorities and other
    relevant public bodies a responsibility to consider the overall economic wellbeing of UK plc as well as those of their own specific areas, as our collective fortunes are interdependent.
  10. Self-certification system to accelerate delivery of infrastructure projects: bringing in a self-certification system on post-consent non-material changes in Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (as was previously used by the Environment Agency on HS2) with spot-check audits and any scheme found not to be adhering to the requirements receiving increased scrutiny.
  11. Transform the Apprenticeship Levy: transforming the Apprenticeship Levy into a more flexible Skills Levy would allow employers to allocate funds efficiently to bridge skill gaps, prioritising upskilling and shorter technical courses.
  12. A flexible immigration system: implementing a responsive immigration system is
    crucial for meeting infrastructure ambitions. This includes bringing in experts from other countries to train the UK workforce on specific skills needed for key projects. Simplifying bureaucratic processes for bringing in short-term workers would ensure the timely delivery of infrastructure schemes.

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