Ministers must avoid throwing billions of pounds at infrastructure projects to create a stimulus for the post-Covid economy, according to a construction industry veteran.
Keith Clarke, the former chief executive of engineering firm Atkins, says the Government can create a better legacy for the construction industry with investment upgrades to schools, hospitals and other projects.
Not that we particularly want to create a legacy for the construction industry, we want to deploy our resources to provide the greatest benefit for us.
But that this is best done by spiffing up what we’ve got rather than creating anew has merit. The problem being that politics doesn’t work that way. The benefit, the incentive, to the politician who signs off on it is the cutting of the red ribbon, the laudatory press pieces. Which sorting out the sewers, maintaining the schools, doesn’t produce. Something new – a new train set – does. So, we get more new stuff and not enough maintenance and upgrading.
That’s just how the incentives work.