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The General Election will be Crucial for Infrastructure. Here are Octavius’ thoughts.

June 20, 2024
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Squint at the 2024 election manifestos and it’s difficult to separate the main political parties’ approach to transport infrastructure.  It’s fair to say that infrastructure is not as prominent a theme as we might like, in any of them, despite electioneering from across the political divide on the need to ensure we have homes, schools and hospitals that are fit for the future. 

That isn’t to say that there aren’t some encouraging signals being emitted across the piece – far from it. However, there is a risk of status quo for the infrastructure industry regardless of who occupies Downing Street come July 5th based on what is available to digest.

The commitment from both main parties to place infrastructure at the heart of Government decision-making will provide some reassurance to the supply chain that the Government recognises the need to deliver a long-term transport strategy underpinned by much-needed planning reforms.  

The proposal by Labour to develop a 10-year Infrastructure Strategy shows the kind of long-term thinking long advocated by Octavius.  However, it remains to be seen whether the proposed National Infrastructure and Service Transformation Authority (NISTA) – designed to scope and deliver the plan – will have the political autonomy and empowerment needed to break the ingrained structural issues that have blighted UK infrastructure for so many years.

Perhaps rather unsurprisingly as the incumbent administration, the Conservative manifesto promises to follow the trajectory of existing policies.  The creation of Great British Railways to drive much needed reform across the rail sector is already well underway, so no surprises there.  The new body would create more of a “partnership” arrangement with the private sector, providing the supply chain with greater opportunity to create value than full nationalisation perhaps would. 

The intent to allow Local Authorities to use the Infrastructure Levy to deliver local infrastructure appears to underline the Conservative’s ongoing commitment to providing regional bodies with greater empowerment – a notion replicated by Labour’s proposal to create locally-led urban development corporations to drive regeneration across local communities. 

Outside of the two front-runners there were some notable commitments – particularly the pledge from the Liberal Democrats to review the decision to cancel HS2 Phase 2. While the polls suggest this will not be happening anytime soon, it is a timely reminder that the need to provide a modern, integrated transport network to the North of the country should remain at the forefront of our thinking, to enable both national and regional economic prosperity. 

In summary, the supply chain will need to wait until after the election to see what part it will truly play in the next Parliament. Our team at Octavius is ready to work with whichever Party is successful on July 4th.  

For further information contact: Media@octavius.co.uk

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