The Infrastructure of Great Britain: It’s Time to catch up with the World

The global recession that has plagued us since 2008 has certainly had a knock on effect on the standards and quality of life we enjoy here in the United Kingdom. Through overspending and poor risk assessment on lending, the citizens of this nation have been hit with four years of spending cuts and austerity measures, whilst inflation is still rife. Albeit an unpopular move, it is an essential one nonetheless, due to the need to reduce the deficit being what is largely seen as the primary role of this coalition government. Having made significant reductions the next stage of economic recovery needs to be initiated in order for the pound sterling to once again achieve its economic premiership. As public and business confidence continues to fall the need to promote growth is becoming a priority, as affirmed by Boris Johnson in a recent critique of David Cameron and George Osborne’s attempts at tackling the economic issues.

More interestingly however, the Mayor of London noted a need for aggressive infrastructure reform through foreign investment claiming that there are plenty of sovereign wealth funds who would be happy to invest in the United Kingdom, but is he right? Certainly the issue of infrastructure of Great Britain has been something of great debate over the last decade or so, notably falling behind countries such as Germany whose investment has allowed them to sustain economic growth as well as provide a consistent high standard of public services. A Roosevelt based recovery scheme could just be what this country needs, we should stand by Mr. Johnson on this issue and not rule out foreign investment as already the idea of China investing in private British roads has been raised and could well be key to providing a means income through stable taxation on the road users.

Despite recent the announcement by Mr. Osborne for £51 billion plans to tackle Britain’s infrastructure more needs to be done. Primarily these plans focus on improvement and modernisation of existing railways lines most of which could be deemed an effective contribution of funding by the Coalition, much more could be done to make Great Britain a key player when examining global infrastructure.

Take London as an example and its high quality infrastructure that has allowed it to host one of the world’s greatest public transport systems moving around 3.4 million people on a daily basis. Let’s even focus on other nation’s infrastructure, Chicago’s transit authority transports up to 1.6 million people around, Paris and New York 4.5 million respectively, and Hong Kong 7 million. The point here being is that by offering similar transport systems (such as new railways, tramlines, monorails and underground systems) to larger UK cities such as Manchester, Edinburgh and Liverpool then not only would we decrease our reliance on automobiles and reduce congestion, we could also be obtaining additional taxation and economic growth through the use of public transport.

But why should we stop there? High-Speed rail and Magnetic Levitation should also be examined and implemented as a means of an economic safeguard by ensuring a fast flowing economic climate not only across Great Britain – which could help eliminate the North-South divide and create a unified British economy – but also as part of the Trans-European high-speed rail network. An expensive idea perhaps but one that has foresight in mind that should we ever mind ourselves in a recession again (which eventually we will, it’s inevitable with a capitalist system of credit) then we will find ourselves much better protected than in our current state – we need only look at Germany and how well it is handling the Eurozone crisis for confirmation of this as in a Q3 report published by Business Monitor International showed that the probability of a technical recession in Germany has receded massively and the has been a substantial improvement in business confidence with expected further growth in Q4 2012.

Suffice to say there are countless possibilities for us to improve on our infrastructure that will not only benefit us in the long run but also act as a means for job creation in the short term. The idea of building a new airport to alleviate the pressure on London’s two main airports, Gatwick and Heathrow. Currently plans for a third runway at Heathrow have been scrapped which (once again) leaves Britain behind Europe when countries like Germany have four (i.e. Frankfurt Airport) – the proposed solution being the Thames Estuary Airport which is being heavily backed b the Mayor of London so much so it has been nicknamed ‘Boris Island’. Certainly this new airport could act as an international hub to the United Kingdom and would drastically improve our air transportation system.

So the proposals are all there, whether we decide to take them or not is a different matter. Although I mentioned earlier that the proper solution to the recession was to initially tackle the deficit, we simply cannot claw our way back into a strong economy without properly investing money into this country, so whilst an expensive solution a viable one nonetheless. Recession or not this country desperately needs to improve its infrastructure and the government is starting to recognise that so expect some progress to be made perhaps not by the coming general election, but maybe by 2020.