Responding to the UK government’s announcement today (11 February 2020), Alex Metcalfe, head of public sector policy at ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) offers comments.
‘We support the government’s commitment to increased infrastructure investment in the UK – though these new investments must adhere to the new fiscal rules set out in the 2019 Conservative manifesto.
‘Originally priced at £33bn, HS2 could now cost UK taxpayers over £100bn. This overrun will require tradeoffs against other national infrastructure priorities – such as a national standard of flood resilience or the rollout of full-fibre broadband.
‘Therefore, it is vital that the Government’s infrastructure strategy takes account of the wider needs of the country, as set out by the National Infrastructure Commission.
‘ACCA’s report How accountants can bridge the global infrastructure gap, which was supported by a survey of 3,611 ACCA members across 118 countries, sets out 20 recommendations based on international good practice. This includes a recommendation that any private finance opportunities must not fall off-balance sheet and should be appropriately recorded against the government’s new fiscal rules.
‘We await the upcoming multi-year spending review, which will set capital and resource budgets beyond 2020-21. This review must provide a vision of how the UK’s future infrastructure investment will be fair, efficient and affordable.’
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