Industry leaders to support Labour’s new infrastructure review


Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Darren Jones has today launched a comprehensive review into major infrastructure projects across the UK, aiming to bring an end to years of Conservative waste and major project failures.

The review, which will be supported by an expert independent advisory panel, will assess ways Britain can reduce costs and speed up delivery of major infrastructure projects such in the public and private sector. The panel includes Paula Reynolds, Chair of the Board National Grid; Juergen Maier CBE, NED, former Siemens UK CEO; and Mark Reynolds, CEO of Mace.

Rail and urban transport infrastructure is being considered as part of a separate review.

This work will look at how significant infrastructure projects can be better managed to boost jobs, improve value for money, and drive investment and economic growth across the country.

Launching the review today in Sheffield at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Jones said: “We need to get Britain building again so we can get Britain growing again. That means quicker and cheaper delivery of major projects and infrastructure, and it means unlocking the private sector investment our country needs.”

“The Conservatives have failed to secure the investment our country needs and have failed to keep control of the costs of delivering major projects across the UK. If we are fortunate enough to form the next government and have responsibility for the public finances, we cannot tolerate this.”

In recent months Labour has started a clear roadmap to rebuilding Britain’s critical national infrastructure.

In November, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves launched the British Infrastructure Council, a new body of comprising of financial institutions designed to unlock investment into UK and tackle infrastructure delivery challenges – such as clean energy, transport, and digital connectivity – by partnering with the private sector to unlock capital.

In December, Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh launched an independent expert transport review, Chaired by Juergen Maier CBE, which will focus on delivery of Britain’s rail and urban transport infrastructure, which will be considered separately to this review.

Costs for major infrastructure projects, overseen by the government have spiralled in recent years. The number of major projects rated red – meaning that the project appears to be unachievable – by the Infrastructure Projects Authority has doubled, from 11 in 2019/20 to 23 in the latest annual assessment. The number not rated green has swelled by more than two-thirds, from 120 in 2019/20 to 206 in the latest annual assessment.

When it comes to delivering major projects – whether nuclear power stations, public buildings, or government IT systems – the UK is among the most expensive anywhere in the world.

The review will look at all major aspects of infrastructure project delivery, including what is needed to get growth in the economy and save costs to the taxpayer.

The review will make recommendations which could be made to the planning system; the capacity of public bodies to effectively deliver infrastructure; the opportunities to unlock wider growth around projects, deliver value for money, and how to boost the British supply chain and attract private investment. It is set to conclude in the Spring.

Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Darren Jones MP, said:

“At a time when the tax burden is at a record high, people are rightly asking what they are getting in return. When it comes to infrastructure, the answer is chronic delay and cost overruns – with little focus from the government on delivering value for money. This must change under a Labour government. ”

“By focusing on infrastructure delivery and ruthless cost control we can unlock investment and start rebuilding our economy after years of sluggish growth. We need to put a stop to waste. Our review will establish the foundations for a long-term and strategic approach to major infrastructure in Britain.”

On joining the review’s expert independent advisory panel, Katy Dowding, CEO of Skanska UK, said:

“It’s vital that the infrastructure sector has long-term stability to spur investment, encourage confidence and improve productivity. The UK has the skills, the innovative capacity and the know how to get projects delivered but we must unblock the barriers that impede efficient delivery today.”

Also joining the expert panel, Kate Kenny, Senior Vice President at Jacobs, said:

“As we navigate the complexities of our rapidly changing world, the delivery of robust and integrated critical infrastructure is vital to supporting a resilient, equitable society and thriving economy. I am delighted to be invited to join this independent advisory panel and the opportunity for our collective expertise to foster collaboration and shared learning. Taking a long-term, strategic approach to infrastructure development improves innovation and productivity, and unlocks greater value across wellbeing, prosperity and economic growth.”