Shadow Chancellor slams Tories on decade-long gaping hole in infrastructure investment
The Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has challenged the Conservative Government on a £192 billion hole in infrastructure spending that has massively weakened the UK’s flood defences, and left bus services and the rail network in tatters.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP, responding to analysis showing a £192 billion Tory infrastructure investment hole, said:
“The Tories have systematically levelled down this country’s infrastructure over ten years.
“Governments in which the Prime Minister and Chancellor have been ministers have left our flood defences, bus network, and rail infrastructure crumbling and decrepit.
“The Government will boast at the Budget about infrastructure but the money pledged in the Tory manifesto will go nowhere near what is needed to fill this gaping hole in investment.”
Notes to Editors:
- The Conservative Manifesto pledged that public sector net investment would not average more than 3% of GDP (see https://assets-global.website-files.com/5da42e2cae7ebd3f8bde353c/5dda924905da587992a064ba_Conservative%202019%20Manifesto.pdf at p. 7), highlighting that infrastructure spending of 3% of GDP is an appropriate sum given current needs.
- New Labour analysis of House of Commons figures shows that following public sector net investment of 3% of GDP in 2008-09 and 2.9% in 2009-10, public sector net investment has averaged just 2% between 2010 and this year, in the years following the financial crisis when investment was needed. Had public sector net investment reached 3% of GDP, £191.6 billion further would have been committed to UK infrastructure. Full public sector net investment figures are below:
Source: OBR, Public finances databank, 6 February 2020
- This week TUC analysis showed that investment in flood defences and coastal erosion has been low over the same period. In 2018/19 the Government spent just £0.8 billion on flood defences and coastal erosion; between 2013 and today there are also 2300 fewer staff working at the Environment Agency, with numbers dropping from 13,000 to 10,700. See: https://www.tuc.org.uk/blogs/uk-flooding-why-years-austerity-have-left-communities-defenceless.
- In the last decade, research by the Campaign for Better Transport shows that local authority bus funding has been cut by more than 40%, resulting in the loss or reduction of more than 3000 bus services nationwide. See (October 2019): https://www.ft.com/content/ad5743bc-f673-11e9-9ef3-eca8fc8f2d65.
- There has also been widespread evidence of under-investment in the rail network, with the Transport Committee flagging in 2018 regional disparities in investment in the rail network. See (June 2018 Transport Committee report on ‘Rail Infrastructure Investment’): https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmtrans/582/582.pdf