CIHT commentary on Autumn Statement 2016

The government have again put infrastructure at the forefront of the UKs on-going economic recovery.  Philip Hammond announced to Parliament, in what he declared was to be the last Autumn Statement of its kind, that concern about the productivity of the UK was very much at the forefront of his mind. The Chancellors’ speech allocated some new money for infrastructure schemes as well as confirming monies already allocated (but re-branded) as the new National Productivity Investment Fund.  Mr Hammond also confirmed that he had asked the National Infrastructure Commission to make recommendations on future infrastructure needs, the first of these announced last week with £27m going to the Oxford to Cambridge Express Way.

Perhaps positively the Chancellor acknowledged that new housing developments were struggling to come forward due to objections around the provision of the right infrastructure for the site.  The announcement of a £2.3bn housing infrastructure fund to deliver 100,000 homes is good news, however it is vital that this is not seen simply as a fund for new roads, but for the provision of good walking, cycling and public transport routes.

Other headlines in the statement:
The government will invest between 1% – 1.2% GDP from 2020 on economic infrastructure
Additional funding of £1.1bn for English local transport networks
£220m to address pinch points
£450m digital signalling on railways
£80 million will be allocated to accelerate the roll out of smart ticketing including season tickets for commuters in the UK’s major cities
£300m to build on low emission vehicles and CAV
100% capital allowance for CAV infrastructure
The UKs devolved nations through the Barnet formula will receive by 2020-1:
£250m to Northern Ireland
£400m to Wales
£800m to Scotland
£1.8bn from the Local Growth Fund was confirmed to English regions:
556m to North
542m to Midlands
492m to London
191m to South West
The government also announced investment of £170m in flood defence and resilience measures. £20m of this will be for new flood defence schemes, £50m for rail resilience projects and £100m to improve the resilience of roads to flooding.

CIHT remains concerned about how we as a country and industry go about increasing the numbers of skilled workers entering the sector? Other concerns remain around how we improve safety on our roads and ensure recognition of the role that transport has to play in delivering improvements to health.  These were all largely ignored in both his speech and the subsequent publication.

We were assured by the Chancellor that the relevant government departments will be making announcements over the coming weeks on how the allocations will be spent.  It is essential that all departments are working together with a clarity of vision and of responsibilities.  Transport has a role to play in good housing development; addressing the skills shortages in transport professionals; tackling the health of the nation and addressing the spiraling costs to the NHS of obesity, ageing population, air pollution and social exclusion. Understanding that transport is a key contributor and enabler is vital.

CIHT Chief Executive Sue Percy commented:

“Today’s Autumn Statement has shown reliable, safe transport systems and infrastructure are essential for the UK’s economic growth.

“We welcome the announcement that between 1-1.2% of GDP will be spent on economic infrastructure from 2020 and this indicates a certainty of investment that CIHT has been calling for.

“CIHT will be looking to work with the National Infrastructure Commission to support their recommendations for economic infrastructure. Through this activity we will highlight how this can unlock productivity benefits for the highways and transportation infrastructure sector.”

To read TP Weekly News’ coverage of the Autumn Statement, see here.

To view a copy of the Autumn Statement 2016, see here.