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05 September 2019

MPA: We need faster project delivery to back up £600m infrastructure spending pledge

First publishedon www.AggBusiness.com

The Mineral Products Association (MPA) has welcomed UK Chancellor Sajid Javid’s pledge of more than £600mn of new infrastructure spending, but reemphasised its frustration over the amount of time taken to deliver projects.

Responding to the Chancellor’s Spending Round 2019 statement to Parliament, which included the new infrastructure cash commitment, Jerry McLaughlin, executive director of Economics and Public Affairs at the MPA, said: “The MPA welcomes the Chancellor’s statement that ‘rebuilding national infrastructure’ is his number one economic priority, but we remain frustrated that such positive statements over a number of years are still not leading to fast enough project delivery on the ground. MPA members supply the bulk of materials used in construction and infrastructure development but industry sales volumes have stalled and are in danger of going backwards. There seems to be an inverse relationship between high profile political statements of support for infrastructure and what is actually happening on the ground.

“Whilst looking forward to the new national Infrastructure strategy later in 2019, it is disappointing that the Chancellor has missed an opportunity to embed additional funding to allow local authorities to start addressing the £10 billion backlog of local road disrepair in the spending plans for 2020/21.”

In his Spending Round 2019 statement to the House of Commons, Chancellor Javid outlined how infrastructure revolution funding, which will come from the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF), will go towards the construction of roads, rail links, schools and other infrastructure schemes.

Speaking in parliament, Chancellor Javid said: “The first priority of our new economic plan will be to rebuild our national infrastructure. High quality and reliable infrastructure is essential to how we live, we work and travel. But the truth is that across many decades governments of all colours have under-invested in infrastructure. The quality of our infrastructure means we’ve fallen behind our competitors.”

He added: “It isn’t good enough that so many commuters spend their mornings staring at a delayed sign at their train platform. It isn’t good enough that our small business owners waste so much time because of slow internet speeds and poor mobile communications. We’re going to change that.”