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The Autumn Statement: GIIA’s asks of the UK Government

The latest findings from our pulse survey on global infrastructure investor sentiment reveal a troubling shift in attitudes toward the UK

On paper, the UK remains one of the most attractive markets for infrastructure investment. With its considerable economic clout, a strong legal framework that includes the right to appeal, historical receptivity to private investment, and a concentration of institutional expertise, the UK has all the hallmarks of a credible investment environment. These attributes alone should position the UK at the forefront of global destinations for private investment. 

But the country has seen its perceived attractiveness for infrastructure investment dip into negative territory, trailing behind all other European economies – with the exception of Greece and some Eastern European nations – and markedly below that of North America. Our members continue to cite political instability, short termist regulation and a lack of policy clarity as the key blockers on confidence.  

The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement arrives at a pivotal moment and presents an opportunity for the government to reiterate its dedication to making the UK a leading choice for infrastructure investment. This calls for the declaration of bold, definitive policies that directly confront and address the pressing concerns our members have underscored throughout the past year.  

Ahead of the Autumn Statement, our key asks of government have been:  

  1. A regulatory framework that incentivises long term investment to meet future challenges: We have emphasised the need for a regulatory framework that promotes long-term infrastructure investments. There is a pressing need to accelerate the wider governmental review of economic regulation if the country is committed to its net zero ambitions.  

  2. An overhaul of the planning system: We’ve argued for further action on planning reform enabling the modernisation of energy, water, transport and high-speed communication networks to speed up the development of infrastructure projects that will deliver economic growth and the country’s transition to net zero. 

  3. Tax environment and full expensing: We have urged the necessity of a globally competitive tax framework that underscores the UK as a prime destination for infrastructure investment. 

We've been seeing some promising signs that the government is turning in the right direction and taking meaningful steps to improve the investment climate. But there is much to do. As Jeremy Hunt finalises his Autumn Statement, it is essential that the government's pledges go beyond rhetoric. There is an expectation for meaningful announcements that will match the intent of international efforts such as the US Inflation Reduction Act and the EU Green Deal Industrial Plan.  

The government stands at a crucial crossroads: it must either present a clear, quantifiable infrastructure investment strategy, benchmarked against global best practices, or risk seeing potential investments redirected to other, more attractive markets.