Latest Public Sector News

16.01.13

‘Real risks’ in Government’s infrastructure plan – NAO

The Government’s national infrastructure plan involves key risks for the taxpayer, the NAO has warned in a new report.

The report reviewed the value for money for the plan, where the Government expects to spend £130bn by 2015 on energy, rail, roads, water, waste, flood defences and digital communications.

The Government is looking for private companies to own and finance around 64% of this investment.

However, the NAO suggests that forecasting for demand for infrastructure in the long-term can be inexact and uncertainty over Government policy could lead to sponsors to defer or abandon projects in the UK.

Additionally, there is the possibility of a failure to take into account the cumulative impact on consumers of funding infrastructure projects where costs are recovered by charging users.

An increased burden on consumers may increase the risk of financial hardship or the need for unplanned taxpayer support, the report added.

The NAO is calling for the Treasury to work with departments and regulators to provide greater clarity for consumers.

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said: “Economic infrastructure keeps the country running. Demand for infrastructure is set to increase, fuelled by population growth, technological progress, climate change and congestion.

“But there is a lot at stake in taking forward the national infrastructure plan in an environment of straitened resources, with real risks to value for money and uncertainty about the sustainability of piling costs on to consumers.

“I have made a number of recommendations which look to the Treasury, departments and regulators to provide greater clarity on the costs which taxpayers and consumers will bear. Work is already in hand to drive down the costs of delivering new infrastructure and this should continue.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >

interviews

Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

NSPCC: Working together to improve the support available for children who have been sexually abused

08/10/2019NSPCC: Working together to improve the support available for children who have been sexually abused

Hayley Clark, the acting head of development and impact at the NSPCC, talks about the significant gap in support services for children who have been sexually abused and the Ho... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >