As Brexit unfolds, mineral products will continue to be essential for infrastructure
Ahead of the Queen’s Speech, the Mineral Products Association (MPA) has outlined its priorities for Government, saying it has a fundamental responsibility to deliver the conditions within which industry can thrive.
As Brexit unfolds, mineral products will continue to be essential for infrastructure including schools, hospitals, roads, rail and energy infrastructure. We believe there is a fundamental responsibility for Government to deliver the conditions within which industry can thrive and invest with confidence so that continuing demands for mineral products can be met sustainably.
Priorities for Government
MPA has set out its new Priorities for Government, urging the Government to improve the delivery of projects on time and as announced and not take for granted the vital role that the mineral products industries have in delivering the homes, public and commercial buildings and infrastructure which society relies upon.
The document outlines eight Priorities for Government and industry, which MPA believes will help deliver continuing prosperity for the UK.
These include building confidence for business investment, enhancing industrial competitiveness, boosting growth and productivity. It is also vital we strengthen UK supply chains, make industry taxation fairer and improve regulation.
Meeting future demands for mineral products generated by economic growth and development will mean improving the sustainability of UK mineral product supply.
The Mineral Products industry’s economic success is tied to its environmental responsibilities, on which it has a strong track record. The industry will play an important role in the transition to a net zero carbon economy by 2050 and the circular economy. The cement sector is a large net consumer of other industries’ waste, and the UK leads Europe in the use of recycled and secondary aggregates.
MPA’s members deliver biodiversity net gain through world class quarry restoration and provides job opportunities, skills and progression, with 74,000 people employed by our members across the country particularly in rural areas.
MPA has expressed concern over the delivery of major infrastructure projects which keep slipping. Tackling this is crucial for meeting our priorities, especially ‘Building confidence for business investment’, ‘Boosting growth and productivity’ and ‘Strengthening UK supply chain’s.
Nigel Jackson, MPA’s CEO, recently expressed consternation at the review of HS2: “Our members have invested in detailed planning and improved capacity to supply the tens of millions of tonnes of materials required for this major public infrastructure project. We are most concerned to see yet more delay and uncertainty over HS2. The Government should decide promptly, commit firmly and deliver the project on time.”
“From a Government ostensibly committed to being more ‘can do’ and keen to invest in improving Britain’s infrastructure, this further delay beggar’s belief. Now is the time to accelerate investment in infrastructure, not to add to uncertainty.”
The High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill (Hybrid Bill) has been carried over for the new Queen’s Speech.
Similarly, the Chancellor’s recent confirmation that national road investment will be sustained over the next five years and the announcement of new specific schemes are welcome, but need to be delivered.
Commenting, Jerry McLaughlin, MPA’s Executive Director of Economic and Public Affairs, stated: “The current national road programme is heavily backloaded, with persistent and continuing delays on planning and progressing schemes. This has significantly reduced supply chain confidence in the delivery of the programme. Unless such issues are resolved, there will remain an underlying lack of confidence in the delivery of the roads programme, even if the underlying policy is positive.”
Read the MPA's full Priorities for Government HERE.