Mick Scrimshaw on Infrastructure Investment

By Mick Scrimshaw on May 29, 2017

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In a previous blog I commented on how a Labour Government would invest in the country’s infrastructure to grow our national economy.

Using government spending in a way that stimulates economic growth can be a sensible thing to do. Firstly it can in itself create jobs, which is clearly good a good thing in its own right, but also because it increases the country’s tax yield while reducing payments on things like welfare. These jobs also help stimulate other busineses as domestic spending is increased.

However the real long-term benefit comes from the infrastructure itself which allows both our current and future businesses to work more efficiently and profitably.

Labour are committed to complete the HS2 high-speed rail line from London through to Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, and then into Scotland, along with other major rail projects designed to help journey times and supported business.

Labour also recognise the need to promote the economic potential of new technologies and science and will therefore complete the Science Vale Transport Arc which is focused around the UK’s leading centres for science, technology and innovation. It includes areas around Oxford, Cambridge and Milton Keynes although there are also benefits for Northamptonshire and this strategy is therefore already supported by local business groups and partnerships for that reason.

Also recognising the need to bring the country's energy systems up to date, Labour intend to invest in new state-of-the-art low-carbon gas and renewable electricity production.

But for me one of the most exciting and beneficial plans is to deliver universal superfast broadband availability by 2022. Also to improve mobile Internet coverage and expand the provision of free public Wi-Fi in city centres and on public transport.

Labour will also improve 4G coverage and invest to ensure all urban areas, as well as major roads and railways, have uninterrupted 5G coverage and one of the first things on taking office will be to start serious planning on rolling out 'ultrafast’ (300Mbps) broadband across the UK within the next decade.

There is plenty of evidence showing that the internet and faster internet speed leads to an increase of GDP so it is essential the Britain invests in this technology. One report for example describes small and medium businesses (SMEs) as “the growth engines of the (UK) economy”, with companies that use the internet for marketing, sales and interactions with customers recording revenue growth of 12 percent over the past three years, compared to only 4 percent for those who made low or no use of the Internet.

These projects will transform UK business and give them an advantage and the tools to compete with businesses from around the globe. It will allow many small and medium enterprises and start up business to expand, thereby fuelling economic growth and the national prosperity it delivers.

Mick Scrimshaw is the Leader of the Labour Group at Kettering Borough Council, the Shadow Cabinet Member for Finance at Northamptonshire County Council. He has a public record of standing up for Kettering as a County Councillor for the Northall division in Kettering, Northants and since May 2015, a Borough Councillor for the William Knibb ward. He is a keen cyclist and also runs a family business with his wife.

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