MCA report into UK growth: Plugging the infrastructure investment gap

Chairman of Infrastructure UK, Paul Skinner, is one of the experts who will join the Management Consultancy Association Think Tank’s industry ‘roundtable’ event this week (19 July, 2013) to discuss issues facing infrastructure projects in the UK. The results of the event will inform a report to be released early autumn.
Improving the standard of UK infrastructure could add £100 billion, the equivalent of 5 percent, to UK growth[1]. But to do so will cost £500 billion[2] and the Government’s recent announcement of a £100 billon infrastructure programme leaves a sizeable gap that needs to be addressed.
Joining Paul Skinner at the roundtable will be experts with no shortage of practical ideas as to how to go about responding to this challenge. They include representatives from Balfour Beatty, KPMG, EC Harris, Deloitte, PwC and Arup as well as the think tanks Policy Exchange and Centreforum.
Paul Connolly, Director of the MCA Think Tank, comments: “Everyone agrees that infrastructure is central to improving the UK’s economic growth prospects. And everyone knows the UK’s not very good at it.
“We may have world-class talent in engineering, architecture, programme coordination and finance. We may have the top management consultancies to deliver these projects. But historic weaknesses in policy and administration make infrastructure an expensive and unpredictable business in the UK.
“The Coalition Government has shown a welcome commitment to improving how the UK does infrastructure, with its National Infrastructure Plan, spending commitments and promises of help for private investors. But it needs to step things up to deliver real change. And isn’t there something we can learn from? Understanding how we commissioned, planned and delivered the London Olympics so brilliantly, distilling and bottling that spirit, would be a powerful legacy for our future infrastructure ambitions.”
Poor government procurement, tensions between the localised planning system and national strategic objectives, limitations in government modelling of project benefits and disbenefits, and a lack of long-term political commitment to major national projects are some of the issues the roundtable hopes to tackle. The final report will contain practical recommendations to address real world problems with infrastructure in the UK.
“For Britain to develop a top-class infrastructure, the private sector clearly needs to shoulder the budget shortfall” Connolly continues. “At the moment projects in the UK cost up to 25 percent more than in other parts of EU which is putting investors off. Insurance giants AXA announced recently that they had £15 billion potentially to invest in the UK provided administrative challenges like planning constraints are overcome.
“Creating the climate to attract investment has to be a priority and I hope our report will go some way to show what must change and how so that we can all benefit from a national infrastructure that delivers growth.”
For further information about the roundtable and the report, please contact Libby Johnstone at CHA PR on 0207 580 7025 or
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The Management Consultancies Association (MCA)
The MCA is the representative body for management consultancy firms in the UK. Its mission is to promote the value of management consultancy for the economy and society as a whole. The MCA's member companies comprise around 60 per cent of the UK consulting industry, employ around 30,000 consultants and work with over 90 of the top FTSE 100 companies and almost all parts of the public sector. The UK consulting industry is amongst the best in the world and a vital part of the business landscape.
Compliance with the MCA's tough entry criteria and rigorous Code of Practice means that MCA member companies are widely acknowledged to provide high quality services to their clients.
Its Think Tank makes constructive contributions to debates on policy, the economy and the business environment.
About Paul Connolly
Previously an independent consultant and former Director of Policy and Strategy at Serco Consulting, Paul Connolly has worked on numerous central government policy initiatives and reviews, both as a consultant and an official, including the Gershon and Hampton Reviews. He is also an expert on regulatory reform and its impact on business and the economy.

[1] Estimate from The Centre for Economics and Business Research
[2] Estimate from Policy Exchange