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Spending Review 2020: predictions for infrastructure

Ahead of the upcoming Spending Review, the public services lead for Grant Thornton UK LLP shares his thoughts on what he expects to see in the announcement around infrastructure.

Will McWilliams, head of public services, Grant Thornton UK LLP commented:

“It is likely that the government will bank on infrastructure to form a key part of its spending plans over the next 12 months, in order to cement its commitment to deliver ‘net carbon zero’ by 2050. We expect that existing mega projects such as HS2 and the road and nuclear programmes will continue to form a major element of the Spending Review. This, together with planned changes to investment appraisal guidance in HMT’s Green Book, will be key elements in driving the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda.

“COVID-19 has only heightened the funding pressures facing public services, with the transport sector alone having received an additional £5.4bn of support to the rail industry; if you include additional light rail and bus support announcements, this nudges this number up to £6bn of additional funding seen this year. 

 “A new National Infrastructure Bank, to be based outside of London, will not only potentially fill the gap left by the European Infrastructure Bank (EIB) but also signals the policy levers in play to try and relocate jobs outside of the capital, to midland and northern cities. There is no shortage of private sector capital for quality projects and identifying where these investment priorities are, and any potential funding gaps, will be key for any new National Infrastructure Bank. The long awaited National Infrastructure Strategy, set to be published on Wednesday, could provide the answers to these questions.”