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Antony Oliver, Infrastructure Intelligence editor

Message from the editor | Issue 10 | May 15

For all the certainty and confidence that a Tory government majority brings, it is also clear that the next five years will not be simply business as usual, more of the same, says Antony Oliver.

No power sharing or horse-trading required. Instead the General Election has delivered a new Tory administration, albeit one with a wafer thin majority. 

And regardless of party allegiances, the result without doubt provides the infrastructure sector with more than expected political certainty – certainty that breeds vital market confidence. 

"The manifesto states: “We will … respond to the Airports Commission’s final report” effectively leaving the door wide open. Could London Mayor Boris Johnson with his new cabinet “role” walk through it with an estuary airport alternative in tow? Don’t rule it out."

Of course, as the latest Infrastructure Intelligence Pulse survey clearly highlights, it is an outcome that UK infrastructure leaders favoured, with 67% believing that Conservative policies are best for infrastructure.

The reality is that over the last five years infrastructure investment has become established as a central plank in the UK’s road to economic recovery. Hence few in the sector would want to see any substantial change to this policy.

Yet as David Cameron’s new all Tory cabinet begins the task of governing it is probably worth referring back to the manifesto on which policies for the next five years will be built.

“We will commit, alongside running a surplus, to increase our capital spending – investment in infrastructure – at least in line with our national income. We have set out a plan to invest over £100bn in our infrastructure over the next Parliament,” says the manifesto.

“This will fund the biggest investment in rail since Victorian times, and the most extensive improvements to our roads since the 1970s,” it adds. “And it will give us the most comprehensive and cheapest superfast broadband coverage of any major European country.”

All good reading for infrastructure businesses assessing the prospects going forward. 

Yet for all the certainty and confidence that this brings it is also clear that the next five years will not be simply business as usual, more of the same. 

There are difficult decisions ahead and Cameron’s depleted majority will undoubtedly leave him forced to keep a number of potentially rebellious MPs on side. Not least when it comes to decisions such as High Speed 2 and replacing the UK’s ageing power generation with lower carbon alternatives. 

Or for that matter boosting aviation capacity in the South East – one of the first big infrastructure decisions promised and possibly the first big test. 

The manifesto states: “We will … respond to the Airports Commission’s final report” effectively leaving the door wide open. Could London Mayor Boris Johnson with his new cabinet “role” walk through it with an estuary airport alternative in tow? Don’t rule it out. 

The manifesto states: “We will … respond to the Airports Commission’s final report” effectively leaving the door wide open. Could London Mayor Boris Johnson with his new cabinet “role” walk through it with an estuary airport alternative in tow? Don’t rule it out.