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FOCUS 19


A YEAR AWAY FROM A GENERAL ELECTION WE HAVE TO REALISE THAT WE ARE ENTERING INTO A VERY POLITICAL PERIOD WHICH IS ALL ABOUT POLITICAL PARTIES DEVELOPING POLICIES WHICH APPEAL TO THE ELECTORATE.





In this review he points out the critical importance of reducing the risk of political policy change and the interruption of the long term plan by politicians – “political fl ip-fl op” as he calls it - and calls for a statutory 30 year view of the infrastructure needs of the country to be established under the auspices of a new independent National Infrastructure Commission.


Managing this political risk is crucial in a world that will be turning to private sector to fi nance and deliver the public infrastructure ambition per the National Infrastructure Plan. He points out that some 70% of the £300bn+ investment is needed from the sector in the next decade.


“Policy leads to people being able to invest. It enables the private sector to invest in technology, manufacturing capability and skills. It all fl ows from the ability to look forward with a degree of certainty and that comes from policy,” he emphasises. “A year away from a general election we have to realise that we are entering into a very political period which is all about political parties developing policies which appeal to the electorate.”


And of course without any statutory basis for where investment should be targeted, he comments that it is unsurprising we are now seeing political debate over the cost-of-living


with politicians trying to artifi cially infl uence or cap energy, water or transport prices for short term electoral gain. His point is that with too much focus on controlling consumer costs, the greater long term cost of not investing in modern infrastructure could be overlooked.


“That is why in my review I say that the role of the regulator would need to be changed so that they were not only addressing the cost to the consumer but also the long term cost arising from either under or over investment,” he explains. “The regulator would therefore be taking into account the long term need and how that long term need is best met as a key obligation.”


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ARMITT REVIEW





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