Bang for buck - public backs fiscal stimulus to improve connectivity
Our new report, Think Small to Win Big looks at the value of inter-city connectivity improvements which could unlock billions of economic value for the UK.
The report includes how:
- Inter-city connectivity, both regionally and nationally, is key to improving our country’s economic value. The need to have world class connections between our cities – especially as we forge our new future outside of the European Union – has never been greater
- We need to invest in infrastructure carefully and shrewdly to create growth and increase productivity, which will better-connect our regional and national markets
- Projects like HS2 and a third runway at Heathrow are critical to creating huge national benefits but more focus is needed at the sub-national level
- We are not doing enough to unlock the value of smaller, interconnecting upgrades and improvements that will lay the foundations needed to capitalise fully on the benefits big projects will bring
- Regional connectivity is the most vital component in creating a more geographically balanced model of growth for the UK. It’s also a lot quicker and easier to deliver than the big, national projects
- The quality of transport infrastructure plays a direct and vital part in driving Britain’s industrial strategy, business investment and locating decisions
- Businesses and the public are worried about congestion on the roads, rail services and the UK’s deteriorating infrastructure
- The north does need improvement. Analysis by HS2 Ltd highlighted that slow travel across the north of England is severely limiting connectivity between cities in the region – with movements between Greater Manchester and the Leeds city region much lower than expected given the size of these cities
- Even modest infrastructure investments in projects like road widening or rail signalling enhancements would deliver huge benefits. Making average journey times between the major cities outside of London just 60 seconds faster would deliver economic benefits of £3.4 billion each year
- We also need to focus on the quality of developments and the wider service offering such as building more restaurants and bars into big scheme like what has been done at London Kings Cross and Birmingham New Street station
- The government could unlock benefits with a one-off injection of as little as £2 billion of investment targeted at the regional road and rail network outside London
- Larger projects need more local support, which could be remedied by devolving decision making powers.
- Transport infrastructure is vital in driving growth both nationally and locally, especially in the City Regions outside of London and there is no better time to do this post Brexit.
This opinion piece features in our Northern Powerhouse section.