A shot in the arm for infrastructure & innovation in 2017
In last week’s Autumn Statement, Chancellor Philip Hammond pledged “high-value investment” in infrastructure and innovation.
A new “National Productivity Investment Fund” to spend £23 billion of additional spending in areas that that are key to boosting national productivity: transport, digital communications, research and development and housing.
From 2020, the government plans to spend between 1% and 1.2% of GDP on economic infrastructure and will seek advice from the National Infrastructure Commission on how to spend it.
Where’s the money going?
The key projects outlined in the Autumn Statement include:
£2.3 billion new Housing Infrastructure Fund
This will be used for projects such as roads and water connections that will support the construction of 100,000 homes in areas where they are most needed. On top of this £1.4 billion will be used to provide 40,000 new affordable homes.
£2.6 billion investment in transport infrastructure
This includes £220 million to address traffic congestion and road safety, £390 million on low emission vehicles and £450 on digital signalling technology.
The announced boost to the transport network coffers came a week after the first major works contracts for HS2 worth £900 million were awarded, with preparation work on the first phase route from London to Birmingham to start immediately.
£1 billion investment in digital infrastructure
This includes £700 to roll out full-fibre broadband and support trials of 5G communications.
£4.7 on science and innovation
This is to include £2 billion more per year dedicated to research and development by 2020-21.
In an Autumn Statement which had otherwise little of merit for the flexible workforce, the opportunities created by such significant projects will be welcomed by all parties in the contracting supply chain.