Give Nimbys an incentive to back infrastructure projects, says new report

Give Nimbys an incentive to back infrastructure projects, says new report

The proposal is one of 21 recommendations from the Management Consultancies Association, whose members include the major accountancy firms and infrastructure specialists, such as EC Harris and Arup, which advise on large transport, energy and telecoms schemes.

But Paul Connolly, author of the report, said that was only a “one-off” benefit. “If communities were given a larger share of the increased business rates that flowed from a new infrastructure project, they would have a continuing benefit. They could use the proceeds to build new social infrastructure that might compensate for any environmental damage from a project or to cut future council tax.”

Alexander Jan, head of transport at Arup, said: “Imagine how the relationships between the local authorities around Heathrow Airport and the debate over a third runway would have played out if the tens of million in business rates that the airport pays every year had gone directly to them.”

The MCA report is also the latest to back an independent infrastructure office, free from the political cycle to take long-term decisions – along the lines of the commission proposed earlier this month by former Olympic Delivery Authority chairman Sir John Armitt.

It also calls for an extension to the Government’s £40bn guarantee scheme and for the National Infrastructure Plan to detail precisely how each scheme should be financed, including what the state is not willing to fund.

Mr Connolly said the Government needed to improve how it presented projects to potential investors. “If you wanted to borrow money from your bank manager, you would put on your best suit and bring a business plan,” he said. “You wouldn’t turn up half-cut and rambling. But that’s how projects tend to be faced off to investors.”

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