Laura Sharman 28 July 2020

Major projects must be more responsive to local need, MPs argue

Hundreds of billions spent on new infrastructure projects could be ‘squandered’ without better co-ordination of local projects, MPs have warned.

In a new report, the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee warned that the overall aims of infrastructure spending remains ‘ill-defined’ and a 'legacy of white elephants' could be left without culture change.

It is calling on the Government to clarify what it means by ‘levelling up’ and ensure plans are responsive to local needs.

Chair of the Committee, William Wragg, said: ‘The Government must clarify its overarching aims for this strategy – how infrastructure spending will support economic growth, what ‘levelling up’ means in practice and how they will be achieved.

’We must also see improvement in how projects are developed at a local level. It will be critical not just to get local support for infrastructure projects, but getting local input in identifying problems and developing solutions must be better supported and become a feature of programme development at a much earlier stage.’

Cllr David Renard, Local Government Association planning spokesman, said: 'The Committee is absolutely right to say the Government’s infrastructure projects need to be more responsive to local need, with local support and local input.

'To do this the Government should engage with councils on projects at the earliest stage, to ensure the voice of local communities is heard.'

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