Core Cities

GVA voice

Jo Davis, Regional Senior Director, South West

Is connectivity and productivity the answer to realising our core cities true potential?

Jo Davis"The debate about transport and physical infrastructure investments is well rehearsed.

Since 2010, collectively the UK has seen over 60 infrastructure projects completed across energy, sanitation, flood defences, rail, road, port and air. But this £47billion of investment per annum only equates to 1% of our GDP - a fraction of our global competitors. However, as a minimum, maintaining this level of investment for the next 5 years will stimulate economic growth across our core cities and create a platform for improved productivity across our core cities.

It is not all bad news, this level of infrastructure investment has also seen the UK globally improve its rankings from 13th to 10th in the world, whilst Germany and France under the pressures of the Eurozone crisis have slipped from 7th to 8th place respectively.

Not all the silver bullets lie in physical infrastructure however. Yes high-speed rail is a key element to connecting our core cities but to realise our core cities’ true potential, this physical investment cannot be at the cost of technology and improved productivity.

We talk about investment in broadband in our rural areas but what about our core cities? Martha Lane-Fox, the Government’s digital Tsar, has repeatedly expressed concern that the UK is spending too much money of the wrong type of connectivity with only 1.5% of the annual infrastructure investment going on digital connectivity.

Investment on information and communication technology is the driving force for increased productivity and integral to the success of our core cities. The Government must focus on investing and providing high speed internet in excess of 100mbps in our urban area, compared to the 30 mbps we currently experience if we are to compete globally.

Without this investment, the reality is that a man on a bike can deliver USB sticks across our cities faster than we can move it digitally – this not productivity at its best.”