Following the arrival of a new Prime Minister and the decision to Leave the European Union, many politicians have been arguing what the country needs most. However, all of them seem to be missing the point, Britain is in dire need of investment into infrastructure.
The underlying reason behind Britain’s failure to produce sufficient housing, school places and efficient transport links, is a 1960’s infrastructure operating in a 2016 world.
One only has to take a stroll around towns and cities that are on the decline, like Liverpool in the North, or towns in Essex like Southend to see the country needs investment. The buildings are in poor health, the transport links outdated or slow. We need radical change.
Of course this isn’t going to come at the direct hand of government – nor should it. The prudency of public finances should be upheld in terms of expenditure. But the government should use Brexit, looser regulations and a new Prime Minister to create a better business environment in the country.
It was promising to hear George Osborne’s commitment to the UK having one of the lowest Corporate Tax rates in the world, but we need to do more. Projects like HS2 have the right idea, but that plan is flawed.
David Cameron’s government did pave the way for an infrastructure revolution. Projects like Crossrail will improve transport links for example. Also, there was clearly an acknowledgement that a improved rail network was needed in the North, as is airport expansion.
It is worth remembering that the last government also took on regeneration projects such as the Stratford area for the Olympic Games. Following that previous investment, the area now has a successful shopping centre, is home to a top Premier League club and the investment will spill into the deprived East End.
The government needs to lower Corporate Tax, Business national insurance contributions, loosen regulation and pressure local authorities to lower business rates.
The combination of these will allow a regenerative capitalist revolution to occur. We must do away with the poor housing created by inefficient government, improve Britain’s rail network and invest in green technology as well as the futuristic developmental tech being adopted in Asia.
China recently unveiled a new bus, which increases public transport capacity while minimising the impact on traffic. Elon Musk’s Telsa Company are developing a new Hyperloop transport network that would be leaps and bounds ahead of any HS2 rail.
Theresa May should be bold and announce that there will be airport expansion at both airports in the South East, Gatwick and Heathrow. Why limit ourselves to the economic benefits of one, when we’ll eventually add a runway to the airport not chosen when we finally realise we can’t handle capacity?
The inefficiency that plagues British infrastructure investment needs to change, there has never been a better time. As we make our exit from the European Union and unshackle ourselves from overbearing Brussels regulation, we must not fail to grasp the opportunity in front of us.
If many of us are comfortable with the assumption that Government is too inefficient to handle transport are utilities, then why do we let them have such a high involvement in housing and infrastructure?
It is not the government who create jobs, it is businesses. Government cannot clearly be trusted, no matter what colour she bears, to implement truly long term investments in housing, infrastructure and transport. The notion of elections lies behind this, for no government would want their credit take by their successors.
Therefore the role of government is simply to create the right economic environment for investment to flourish both domestically, but more importantly in a globalised world, from abroad.
The trade deals that will come with the US, India and China should be viewed as crucial to the future of the country. We shouldn’t invest in outdated technologies such as HS2 that are about to be replaced in other countries.
Britain is a great nation, but she needs a upgrade. We have more to give and investment is the way to unlock that.