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Last edited 02 Mar 2021
Government construction and infrastructure pipelines
The Plan for Growth published by the UK government in 2011 set out a commitment to publish a rolling forward programme of construction and infrastructure projects. This ‘pipeline’ is the joint responsibility of the Efficiency and Reform Group in the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury, however, the government has contracted Barbour ABI for the management, maintenance and future development of the pipeline database.
The pipeline publishes details of planned government construction and infrastructure projects, including those that are in very early stages where funding has not yet been secured and may not actually happen. The pipeline is not therefore intended to give a commitment that projects will proceed, rather it is a strategic planning tool. It gives forward visibility by providing the ‘…transparency and certainty, which will help businesses plan and give investors confidence.’ It is seen to support the ambitions of the Government Construction Strategy, and the Infrastructure Cost Review Implementation Plan.
The pipeline is published as two documents, the Government Construction Pipeline and the National Infrastructure Pipeline. The government has committed to update the construction pipeline on a 6-monthly basis and the infrastructure pipeline on an annual basis.
The infrastructure pipeline sits alongside the government's National Infrastructure Plan published by Infrastructure UK (now the Infrastructure and Projects Authority), created to tackle the UK’s historically fragmented infrastructure development programmes which tend to be ineffective at prioritising need, instead only reacting to failures. The plan is intended to provide a clear, long-term strategy for maintaining and improving infrastructure, enabling the UK to remain competitive and to accommodate an increasing population.
A revised pipeline was published in July 2015. (Ref. Gov.uk.) This detailed £411 billion of investment in 564 projects and programmes from 2015/16 onwards with increasing investment in transport, energy, communications and environmental networks.
In September 2015, analysis by KPMG revealed that 28% of construction and infrastructure projects has ‘disappeared’ since the previous pipeline analysis in December 2014 largely due to potential projects being removed to avoid pre-empting the Spending Review.
“I hope the Government will recognise that what this industry most needs is long-term certainty and stability in demand, to provide it with the confidence to invest in technology and its workforce. Our growing economy is creating a welcome uplift in private sector demand, but the Government should not use that as an excuse to cut back its own investments, create another hiatus, and send ripples of uncertainty through the industry.”
In his speech to the Conservative party conference on 5 October 2015, then-Chancellor George Osborne announced the creation of a National Infrastructure Commission to provide an unbiased analysis of the UK’s long-term infrastructure needs, delivering a long-term plan for, and assessment of, national infrastructure needs early in each parliament.
A revised National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline was published on 6 December 2017, setting out £600 billion of public and private infrastructure investment over the next ten years. (Ref. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-infrastructure-and-construction-pipeline-2016)
This was published alongside a new Transforming Infrastructure Performance programme, giving details of plans to improve infrastructure and boost the productivity of the construction sector with the intention of saving £15 billion a year on economic infrastructure such as transport and energy networks, and social infrastructure such as schools and hospitals.
In November 2018, a revised National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline was published, listing projects with a total value of £600bn over the next 10 years, the same figure as the previous year.
On 16 June 2020, the government published a separate procurement pipeline bringing together the details of planned procurements for the 2020/21 financial year to help industry to make informed decisions as it recovers from the impact of COVID-19. Ref https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-infrastructure-and-construction-procurement-pipeline-202021
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