Britain's manufacturers have written to the newly appointed MPs on the Transport, Business Energy and Industrial Strategy and Digital Culture Media and Sport Select Committees urging them to hold inquiries into the state of Britain's roads and overstretched, expensive energy network.
EEF's Infrastructure Assessment 2017, which has been sent to members of each Select Committee, shows that despite government action infrastructure networks across the UK have seen a decline in quality over the last two years. On the energy side, manufacturers continue to face some of the highest electricity prices in Europe and are anxious about the cost implications of the huge volume of change due in the energy sector over the next decade.
In a new survey EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, reveals that manufacturers feel core infrastructure networks are getting worse and they need urgent attention. Of particular concern is the quality of A-road and energy supply networks.
Businesses want to see action on five policy priorities in the next 6 months to support growth and are urging Select Committees to hold inquiries to ensure:
- The Government backs the Roads Fund with legislation to give certainty on future funding for the strategic road network
- A full-fibre voucher scheme is created which maximises geographic coverage ensuring businesses have access to world class digital infrastructure
- A roadmap to minimise business energy costs is delivered to make UK manufacturing more competitive
- The creation of sub-national transport bodies for all of England to ensure a more strategic approach to maintaining locally managed A-roads
- Progress on the Aviation National Policy Statement is expedited to deliver a third runway at Heathrow
Chris Richards, Head of Business Environment Policy, EEF, the manufacturers' organisation says: "The nation's network of roads are acting as a barrier to business growth. While some strategic new investment is taking place, we need to speed-up efforts to improve the key routes that are the arteries companies rely on."
"At the same time we need to see more progress on reducing the cost of energy for business. This combined with strengthening our digital infrastructure should all form part of a package to make Britain's vital business infrastructure fit for purpose if we're to maintain our competitive edge. The Government can't afford to take its eye off the ball and focus all its efforts on Brexit when there are core business priorities that need to be addressed now."