Civil engineering contractors have called for the next government to keep its focus on 'the schemes needed to tackle congestion' and tackle costly procurement rules as it negotiates Britain’s exit from the EU.
The Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) has published Delivering Post-Brexit Growth, a manifesto setting out the infrastructure policies it wants the next government to pursue to secure economic growth post-Brexit.
The economy may not take off after Brexit
Among its six headline asks, CECA said the next government must maintain and build upon the National Infrastructure Delivery Plan and deliver an Industrial Strategy with a construction sector deal, overseen by the Construction Leadership Council.
It said it welcomes the recognition by the main political parties that investment in infrastructure is essential for economic growth but that the sector has historically suffered disproportionately when the wider economy slows down.
Marie-Claude Hemming, CECA director of external affairs, said: ‘The Government must ensure that the process of negotiating Britain’s exit from the EU must not cause a loss of focus in delivering the schemes needed to tackle congestion and keep the lights on.
‘Any delay or changes to the existing pipeline of projects will unsettle the markets and undermine business confidence. This could discourage long-term investment in UK infrastructure, which would be bad news for Britain’s businesses and communities, and the strategic interests of the country as a whole.’
CECA also said that Britain’s exit from the EU provides an opportunity to review the UK’s application of EU law and procurement rules in general to tackle a public sector infrastructure procurement process that is ‘now the most expensive and one of the lengthiest in Europe’.
It also wants the next government to guarantee the rights of EU workers living in the UK ‘as a matter of urgency’, to rebalance investment across the UK, and commit to remote onshore wind power.