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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