"This Government won a landslide on a promise to end the ‘dither and delay’. On many key agendas, they are getting on with it. On others, such as climate resilience, infrastructure strategy and net zero delivery, we’ll have to wait to see the detail. In the meantime, we welcome Government’s recognition of infrastructure’s role in delivering future prosperity.
“March 2020 had been in our sector’s diary for a while as the moment where we learnt what Government’s strategy for infrastructure would contain and what it wouldn’t. Despite its publication being postponed, today’s Budget gives us a sense of what Government deems strategic. We welcome that connecting Britain’s north and south with high speed rail, rolling out 5G, boosting flood defences and promoting hydrogen are core to its plans.
“We also support the Chancellor’s eagerness to decentralise decision making away from SW1. The announcement of a new economic campus with 750 civil servants relocating to the North is positive news and perfect timing. As a review of the Green Book kicks off and a white paper on the next steps for devolution is announced, this symbolic move proves they are serious about putting the power back in the North.
“The £5 billion package to encourage exports will galvanise our sector to continue exploring opportunities in growth markets, where can bring our expertise in planning and engineering to the fore and help drive net zero globally.”
“One area still requiring clarity from Government is on the implications of the Heathrow Court of Appeal decision for other major infrastructure projects. Addressing climate change and achieving net zero by 2050 is one of the most important societal issues we face, and one which WSP fully supports, yet it should not become a reason for doing nothing. Instead, it should be the driving force for delivering inclusive prosperity. The current uncertainty risks doing the opposite.
“In short, if this Budget was a taste of what’s to come, it’s left us wanting more. The key focus has to now be on ensuring these investment promises lead to actual levelling up across the country over the next five years. For this, strategic planning and delivery will be key, and WSP looks forward to playing its part."