The Queen’s Speech

A new National Infrastructure Strategy but no strategic workforce plan?

In the Queen’s Speech, the new Conservative government advised that a ‘National Infrastructure Strategy’ will be published alongside the first Budget and will set out further details of the Government’s plan to invest £100bn to transform the UK’s infrastructure. The Strategy will set out the Government’s long-term ambitions across all areas of economic infrastructure including transport, local growth, decarbonisation, digital infrastructure, infrastructure finance and delivery.

The Strategy will provide the Government’s formal response to the National Infrastructure Commission’s 2018 National Infrastructure Assessment, and set out two clear policy aims:

  1. To unleash Britain’s potential by responsible and prudent investment in the infrastructure
  2. To address the critical challenges posed by climate change and build on the UK’s world-leading commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050

Energy & Utility Skills Chief Executive Nick Ellins advised:

“Infrastructure has again been rightly recognised as the enabler of a prosperous environment, economy and society, with the gas, power, water and waste management companies and their major supply chain partners ultimately responsible for delivering the largest single contribution. Government now has the perfect moment to ensure that their National Infrastructure Plan for Skills’ will enable the ambition to happen. Right now the Treasury owns the dusty human capital plan through the Infrastructure & Projects Authority, but the forgotten document is sadly long out of date and totally out of sync with vital UK infrastructure priorities, ever diverging skills and employment policy and the reality of the UK labour market. Simply put, without the quantity and quality of skilled workforce available to deliver and then maintain UK infrastructure at an affordable cost, the aims of transforming infrastructure will be an arbitrary point. The UK utility sector stands ready to assist HM Treasury and the UK government.