Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

Civil Engineers express fears over lack of infrastructure investment

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association in the North East has expressed its concerns over the abolition of regional development agencies in favour or local enterprise partnerships (LEPs).

Many members feel that when One North East is disbanded in 2012, there will bo noone for them to turn towards to lobby the government on infrastructure issues.

Regional director Douglas Kell says: “The Government Office for the North East has gone out of existence. The regional development agency One North East is going. The LEPs succeeding have no budgets and no authority to give out work.

“And as county and local councils are only responsible for infrastructure inside their own boundaries, there’s no-one the North East industry can go to for support in making a case for key projects to the Government.”

According to Mr Kell, the region is not receiving its fair proportion of government infrastructure funding, an issue he attributes to the North East’s geographical location.

Contractors in the region are now worrying that more redundancies may have to be made if they do not receive the necessary investment.

Mr Kell continued: “They don’t want to lose any more – they want to see a fair share of public investment in infrastructure come their way instead.”

For every £1 invested in infrastructure there is a return of £3 , which would provide a much needed cash injection for the North East economy.

Engineering firms in the North East have already begun to suffer the brunt of the lack of finance, with many being forced to cancel work. Others are being forced out of the region to compete for work which might not even return a profit.

He added: “There has been no increase in work from the private sector to offset the famine of public infrastructural projects.

“Ironically, we are probably the most taxed sector, paying taxes through PAYE, National Insurance, VAT and Corporation Tax, as well as aggregate taxes and environmental taxes. Is it unreasonable to expect our fair share back?”

Responding to Mr Kell’s concerns, James Ramsbotham, NECC Chief Executive commented:

“I appreciate the concerns raised by the North East region of the Civil Engineering Contractors’ Association. Infrastructure spending is skewed towards the South East.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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