First publishedon www.AggBusiness.com
The Mineral Products Association
(MPA) says that revenues from the £400m per year Aggregates Levy should be used to help finance the operation of the UK's mineral planning system.
The MPA - the trade association for the aggregates, asphalt, cement, concrete, dimension stone, lime, mortar and silica sand industries - made the call in a submission to HM Treasury’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR). It said that using part of the levy to support the mineral planning system would provide a foundation for future housing, infrastructure and other development.
The MPA submission highlights the fact that the UK mineral products industry is a key enabling industry which provides the products and services which allow plans to invest in housing, infrastructure and other development to be realised. To ensure that this supply chain continues to function efficiently its says the planning and regulatory systems need to be modernised and better resourced.
Jerry McLaughlin, director of economics and public affairs at the MPA, said: “There has been notable progress in infrastructure planning and engagement in recent years and it should be a clear objective of the next public spending period to build on this progress with a greater focus on project and programme delivery. Ensuring that adequate funding is in place and that there is better engagement with infrastructure and construction supply chains so that project benefits are seen throughout the UK is vital. An early opportunity to help ensure infrastructure and housing delivery is to use of a small proportion of the £400m pa of Aggregates Levy receipts to help finance the operation of the mineral planning system.”
The MPA also urged the UK government to focus on accelerated and consistent delivery of infrastructure investment and ensuring that the contributions of supply chains are optimised throughout the country.
The association said that, given the economic and political backdrop, there should be a clear government focus on the delivery of public spending which will improve economic efficiency and productivity. It adds that the measures proposed would help to deliver the efficiency and productivity improvements necessary to secure improved long-term growth.
The government has increased its commitment to infrastructure, for example through the activities of the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) and Infrastructure Projects Authority (IPA). However, the MPA says that UK supply chains are still hampered by over-promising and under-delivery of infrastructure projects and need more reliable longer-term programmes to ensure the capacities and capabilities are in place to build, improve and maintain our infrastructure. It adds that the mineral products industry is the largest element of this supply chain throughout the UK and operates with long term planning horizons, therefore long-term policy consistency on infrastructure is a pre-requisite for efficient supply.
Although there are supply chain concerns about the heavily backloaded delivery of Road Investment Strategy 1 (RIS1), the MPA says it strongly supports the principle of longer-term planning of road investment and the plans announced for Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2) and its financing through the National Roads Fund and vehicle excise duty receipts. Complementary investment in local roads is also vital.
The MPA says it is widely acknowledged that there has been historic underinvestment in the maintenance and improvement of local roads. Local authorities in England and Wales are responsible for over 204,000 miles of roads, accounting for 97% of the total road network and with a reported asset value of £395bn. In the 2018 Budget, the Government allocated an additional £420m of funding for local road maintenance in 2018/19, which the MPA says highlights the need for a sustained increase in funding for local road maintenance.