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“We are the builders,” George Osborne claimed as he delivered his sixth Autumn Statement speech. But with infrastructure construction falling 5.4 per cent in the past five years, many remain unconvinced.
The chancellor trumpeted £61bn of capital investment over the course of this parliament – a £20bn increase compared with the previous one.
The biggest boost was to transport, which it was announced will receive £46.7bn over the next five years, however; this figure was inflated by the inclusion of High Speed 2, in the transport budget for the first time.
The chancellor must feel that many of us have NOT been paying attention, as his statement contained a number of re-announcements including; the £15bn Highways England, is due to invest in new roads and repairs in this parliament.
Well we were paying attention and this was actually announced last autumn.
These tricks are frustrating many of us in the industry; with the mood captured by Nick Prior, Head of Infrastructure at Deloitte, who declared that he was disappointed. “We had been led to believe we were going to see a significant shift in investment in infrastructure in this parliament, and that has not materialised.”
There was some good news, however; for engineers working in the Infrastructure sector.
With the treasury reporting that there will be a shortage of 100,000 engineers and construction workers by 2020; we should see both an increase in career opportunities and wages.
Financial Times (Gill Plimmer), 26th November 2015