Commenting on the recent government announcement of new guarantee schemes to kick-start infrastructure projects and support exports, Tessa Coombes, Directo r of Policy at Business West, said: "Ministers’ newfound willingness to use the government’s balance sheet to kick-start stalled projects is a positive development.
"The business community will be heartened to see the Treasury showing signs of innovative thinking on infrastructure financing by underwriting up to £50bn of private investment in infrastructure and exports. With luck, this indicates officials are willing to consider more radical funding options for bigger and longer-term projects.
“For too long, businesses have had to put up with deficient transport infrastructure that adds delays, uncertainty and cost. With traffic snarled on the A303 in the South West, ministers must use both their chequebook and their legal powers to get Britain moving. This and other improvements are vital to the health of the local economy.
“The new scheme must also move swiftly to kick-start housing and energy projects – not tie them up in a long and complex application process.
“What's clear is that these announcements are long overdue. Business expects speedy action, rather than yet more unfulfilled promises. Only visible results on the ground will make this announcement, and the government's National Infrastructure Plan, worth the paper they're written on.
"The announcement of £5bn in long-term export guarantees will help many British firms seal significant deals overseas. This has the potential to support, not just major companies, but many hundreds of others in their supply chains across Britain."
PUBLICATION: Wiltshire Business - 20 July 2012