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New Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Infrastructure (APPGI), Stephen Hammond MP, sets out his vision for the Group.
As a former Transport Minister and new member of the Treasury Select Committee, infrastructure is close to my heart.
It improves quality of life, drives economic growth and supports job creation. Investment in road networks and projects such as HS2 and Crossrail are instrumental in boosting UK economic development. I have first-hand experience of this, having spent many years campaigning for better transport links in my own constituency of Wimbledon.
However, it’s not just about transport. Infrastructure covers a wide range of areas such as housing, broadband, energy and water.
Infrastructure should be at the heart of any economic and productivity plan.
The Government has got the message about the need to invest in the UK’s infrastructure and welcome progress is being made.
However, I remain concerned that the framework to allow coordinated and strategic infrastructure decision making to be made needs to be put at the forefront of government.
A robust decision making framework is required to provide a clear outline of how projects in the National Infrastructure Plan will contribute to achieving specific economic and social objectives – helping focus policy makers as they implement future plans.
This is of particular importance, especially with Government’s policy to accelerate devolution and resources for economic development.
All Party Parliamentary Groups are crucial in raising the awareness of these important issues and maintaining future consensus on the importance of infrastructure. They should also act as champions on behalf of the sector, and show policy makers why and how we should invest in, plan and deliver the infrastructure and underground structures that Britain requires.
I am delighted to be offered the opportunity to assist the infrastructure and tunnelling sector, by providing a voice in Parliament. We have officers who are civil engineers, alongside Chairs and Members of Select Committees. Officers include:
I look forward to working with the newly elected officers to make the case for infrastructure in Parliament and promote the value infrastructure contributes to the UK economy and society.
The group marked its relaunch at a Summer Reception in July at One Great George Street – ICE’s headquarters and the home of civil engineering. I was grateful to meet over 100 parliamentarians and representatives from the infrastructure and tunnelling sectors, all of whom have the same priority: to keep infrastructure high on the agenda.
I would thoroughly encourage these groups to continue working together.
We will examine a wide range of issues which impact the infrastructure and tunnelling sector, and also plan to visit a number of civil engineering sites throughout the year.
You can get involved with the APPGI’s activities by contacting Gloria Liu, ICE’s Public Affairs Executive and the APPGI’s Secretariat, on [email protected]. You can also tweet us by using the hashtag #APPGI.
Stephen was first elected as MP for Wimbledon in May 2005, and and has previously worked as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport.
Find out more about ICE's public affairs work across the UK