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GIIA's market spotlights June 2024

GIIA's Policy and Public Affairs team round up on our global advocacy work throughout June

Market spotlights

U.S. news

By David Quam, Senior U.S. Advisor and Alessandro Pecorari, Policy & Public Affairs Manager

This month GIIA’s Senior US Advisor, David Quam attended two key policy meetings convene by the National Governors Association. The first meeting was the Broadband Leaders Workshop in Kansas City. The meeting convened broadband infrastructure coordinators from over 44 states and territories, federal officials, internet service providers and other corporate and non-profit leaders to share best practices, and discuss critical issues in broadband deployment, affordability, and accessibility.

The meeting was a key moment for states and territories to focus on issues and activities related to the $42.25bn Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program. This subgrantee program, part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) includes expanding high-speed internet access to American households by funding planning, developing infrastructure, and adoption of programs. 

The second meeting was the NGA Policy Summit in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This meeting is attended by Governors’ policy advisors and Chiefs of Staff and features discussions on a wide range of policy issues facing state governments. While infrastructure was not a specific topic of the meeting, the ongoing problems presented by supply chain issues and insufficient workforce were priorities for all states. 

President Biden and former President Donald Trump met for their first televised debate at the end of June. The debate delivered what was to be expected, focusing on big-issue topics for voters such as, the economy, immigration, and healthcare. While they diverged significantly on many of these topics, both candidates blamed inflation on the COVID-19 pandemic and attempted to defend their economic records. Many saw this first debate as an opportunity for the Biden campaign to make up for losses in the polls and to present a contrasting figure to Trump. However, by the end, Biden’s age was apparent, causing further concern among the Democratic camp ahead of the party’s national convention this summer.

UK news

By Nick Elliott, Policy & Public Affairs Manager

On July 4, the UK public will decide the next government. Barring any major disruptions, Labour will emerge victorious with a strong mandate to implement the plan they have been gradually revealing over the past few months.

To briefly unpack Labour’s manifesto and what it says about their plans for government, there are a few points that stick out. Overall, their manifesto represents a strategic consolidation of their already established policy positions, designed to minimise their exposure to Conservative attacks. With a substantial lead in the polls, Labour is continuing to present a united and cautious front, focusing on familiar policies rather than introducing new, potentially controversial proposals. The manifesto emphasises ‘change’ and the importance of re-introducing stability. A positive emphasis in our view in prioritising the political stability so important to infrastructure investors. 

Labour has placed economic growth and “wealth creation” at the forefront of their agenda, seeking to demonstrate a balance between ambition and fiscal prudence. Historically criticised for their economic policies, Labour under Starmer and Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves is attempting to reframe the narrative by emphasising fiscal rules and pledging not to increase major taxes such as income tax, national insurance, VAT, or the headline rate of corporation tax. The manifesto’s primary mission, “kickstarting economic growth,” underscores Labour’s commitment to boosting investment in the country. As those members who are part of their British Infrastructure Council will know well, the crowding-in of private investment in infrastructure will be an essential tool with which to do this. 

Labour’s ability to implement its ambitious agenda hinges on achieving economic growth, facilitated by planning reform and policy stability. The party’s strategy involves fostering private investment through targeted public spending, aiming for a multiplier effect. This plan will face significant tests in practice, including overcoming local opposition to new developments and potential tax increases to fund public services. On planning, one of the key obstacles Labour will need to contend with is overcoming the challenges of the NSIP regime, which has created delays in planning approval for major infrastructure projects. They also aim to transform not just policy but also the mechanics of governance, advocating for a “mission-driven approach” and advancing devolution. This would involve greater collaboration between government and business, as well as increased power for metro mayors.

In our view, Labour’s manifesto outlines numerous positive steps that could address many of the issues we have long advocated for. However, there remains uncertainty about how this ambitious vision will be realised and how the proposals will manifest in practice. This is especially true for newly proposed bodies crucial to our sector, such as the National Wealth Fund, GB Energy, and the beefed-up National Infrastructure Commission, in the form of the National Infrastructure and Service Transformation Authority (NISTA). We look forward to engaging with the next government, regardless of its composition, and will continue to champion the voice of infrastructure investors to ensure our priorities are heard.

EU news

By Harvey Chandler, Head of Policy & Public Affairs

The outcome of June’s EU parliamentary elections raises multiple considerations for investors seeking stability, certainty and clarity in the political, regulatory and macroeconomic environment in which they seek to invest.

Whilst the centrist majority of the centre-right EPP, centre-left S&D and centrist Renew parliamentary groupings still exists, its reduced majority of 38 seats (398 out of 720) spells concern for the ability of an incoming Commission to advance its legislative agenda.

The first test will be parliamentary approval of EU Council leaders preferred candidate to lead the Commission, recently revealed as Ursula Von Der Leyen. If Von Der Leyen cannot secure the necessary majority from the Parliament - with some MEPs already declaring they will not vote for her in the secret ballot - then uncertainty will ensue.

Whatever the outcome, we should expect a slowdown in legislation of the scale seen under the European Green Deal, as focus shifts towards issues such as migration, industrial competitiveness and defence. This will bring a period of relative stability for investors at the EU level in sectors such as energy and transport, with many of the targets, legislation and regulations already in place. Expect further emphasis now on implementation at the member state level, which investors will be watching keenly, and GIIA will be engaged on in the months to come.

At the EU level, we can expect a more dynamic agenda in areas such as digital infrastructure, issues linked to economic security, foreign direct investment and ESG. 

If you are interested in learning more about how the parliamentary elections are impacting considerations for investors and more about our advocacy agenda, we encourage you to join our EU Working Group.


For information on how you or your company can get involved in our advocacy work, get in touch with our Membership Officer Sophia Taylor, or email any of our Policy & Public Affairs team via the links above.