Energy has overtaken transport as the biggest infrastructure concern for British businesses, according to a survey commissioned by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
The poll of more than 500 business leaders found 77% lacked confidence that energy infrastructure would improve in the next five years, a higher number than for transport, water, waste or digital infrastructure.
The figure has increased since last year’s report when 67% said they were worried about the UK’s energy infrastructure. Manufacturers were particularly worried with 86% saying they weren’t confident of improvements.
The report released yesterday found price rather than reliability was the biggest worry for companies, though both were common concerns. A staggering 95% said they were troubled by the cost of energy, while 90% said the same for energy security.
John Cridland, CBI Director-General said: “The huge number of businesses concerned about energy supply and costs is alarming. The Government must get the Energy Bill onto the statute books and bring forward secondary legislation to give potential investors the certainty to deliver the energy infrastructure we need to keep our lights on in the future.”
The survey conducted by accountancy firm KPMG also found businesses are concerned that two years of “positive Government infrastructure policy announcements will not translate into delivery on the ground,” said the CBI.
Just a third (35%) thought government policies would have a positive impact, while the other two thirds (65%) said government policies would have no tangible effect, or even a negative one.
Mr Cridland added: “I know that ministers share my enthusiasm for progress but Government has talked the talk on infrastructure for the last two years with too few signs of action.”
He suggested time is slipping away: “We can’t afford any further delay. The Coalition must show strong leadership and prove that the UK can deliver on a small number of projects over the next 18 months.”