The quality of our national infrastructure is key to ensuring growth in the economy. The importance of infrastructure is now frequently receiving national attention, with debates around the future of HS2, a potential new airport for the South East and the Government’s National Infrastructure Plan all featuring regularly in or near the headlines.
The importance of infrastructure is clearly demonstrated in London. Previous reports from Policy Exchange have highlighted barriers that led to delays in or abandonment of the development of vital infrastructure in the Capital, for instance the failed Thames Gateway Bridge project and severe delays in Crossrail. Other reports have argued that we must make more of one of our key assets: the Thames river.
With effective infrastructure consistently being cited as having a vital role in businesses decisions to invest or locate in the UK, it is clear that ensuring modern and effective infrastructure in London and across the UK is essential if we want London to remain a economically attractive city. There are also wider benefits. Developing world class infrastructure helps develop expertise and skills that are readily exportable and, of course, brings jobs to the economy.
This event will outline the vital importance of infrastructure in the UK both in terms of short-term and long-term growth and also the legacy it provides in terms of skills and employment. It will ask: what needs to be done to ensure we plan and deliver infrastructure projects to ensure that London keeps its place as a leading City; whether changes to the planning system and to how we approach infrastructure planning and development might allow a more collaborative and long-term approach to be adopted; and whether this could drive growth across the UK while taking account of legitimate concerns.
CHAIR | Matthew Oakley | Head of Economics & Social Policy | Policy Exchange
Lord Sassoon | Commercial Secretary to the Treasury
Professor Paul Cheshire | Professor of Economic Geography | London School of Economics
Sir Terry Farrell | Principle | Farrell and Partners
Mike Gerrard | Managing Director | Thames Tunnel