Hammond criticised over ‘further consultation’

The Opposition and infrastructure experts have attacked the lack of action on the ground on infrastructure, following the launch of another review.

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in his Spring Statement that the government was publishing a consultation on how to engage private finance in infrastructure delivery, with the document itself ruling out a like-for-like replacement of PFI and PF2.

However, critics have bemoaned the lack of action on infrastructure delivery and suggested that the consultation does little to deliver the pipeline of projects needed.

Responding in parliament, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said: “The government announced a National Infrastructure Delivery Plan for 2016 to 2021 Then it announced a national Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline. Plans. Pipelines. Strategies.

“And today yet another review of financing mechanisms announced. But no real action to deliver for our businesses and communities.

“The Institute for Government described this government’s decisions on infrastructure as ‘inconsistent and subject to constant change’.”

His views were echoed by Stephen Tobin, partner at Pinsent Masons, who added: “Consultations are all well and good, but they cannot be used as an alternative to active engagement with the industry – playing about with finance is not really the issue.

“What’s lacking is not the appetite and interest of private stakeholders, but political will to give more attention to bringing forward projects and consistently recognising the value of private finance solutions as part of a spectrum of different ways of financing infrastructure.”