The case for investment is overwhelming

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As Guardian (amongst others) notes this morning:

The UK's infrastructure needs a big cash injection, with public transport, home heating and water networks all in dire need of renewal, independent government advisers have said.

The investments, of about £30bn a year from the taxpayer and £40bn to £50bn a year from the private sector, would result in savings to the average household of at least £1,000 a year, higher economic productivity, and a better quality of life in the future, the National Infrastructure Commission said.

The figures come from a government-appointed agency.

Remember, Labour has backtracked from its commitment to make investment on this scale, suggesting that managing debt is a high priority.

As ever, I despair: the case for investment at present, is so overwhelming, even given current absurd interest rates, that any government must act now. I just hope that, despite all that they say, Labour is listening. The list of recommendations is controversial, but the debate is needed now. The Guardian summarises those recommendations as:

  • Substantial investment in public transport for England's biggest cities must be accompanied by restrictions on car access to alleviate congestion.

  • Hydrogen must not be used for home heating, despite government enthusiasm for the technology. Hydrogen should be exploited for use in heavy industry.

  • People on lower incomes should have heat pumps installed free, while the other two-thirds of households should receive subsidies of £7,000 each for their installation. Upgrading homes with high levels of insulation is not needed before installing heat pumps.

  • Water meters should be compulsory for households and businesses.

  • No new waste incinerators should be built, and recycling rates need to improve.

  • The decision to cancel the northern leg of HS2 was “deeply disappointing” and “leaves a major gap in the UK's rail strategy”. Armitt said it would result in an “overload” of the west coast mainline, or encourage more people and freight on to the roads.

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