Transport a block to business say Captains of Industry

Industry leaders are strongly of the view that their company would have more opportunities to improve if the country’s transport network was better according to a study by Ipsos MORI.

The Captains of Industry study found that 79% of Captains say their company has been caused difficulties by Britain’s transport network. A similarly high proportion, 74%, say that their company would have more opportunities to improve if the transport network was better.

98% agree that Britain needs to improve its transport network to compete with businesses across the world, 62% doing so strongly.

The findings come from the annual survey of FTSE 500 business leaders and chime with those from Ipsos MORI’s Global Infrastructure Index, also undertaken in 2017 across 28 countries including Britain. This showed rail infrastructure – new tracks and stations – as a key priority for the public, moving from third to top spot between 2016-17 among a list of ten possible sectors for investment.

The survey, undertaken before the collapse of Carillion, also repeated a question put to the general public last year, asking Captains to rank six factors in terms of their importance as considerations when putting together plans for infrastructure in the future. Captains of Industry are more likely than the public to prioritise resilience (described as ‘how well our infrastructure stands up to challenges today and in the future’) and quality (‘making sure that infrastructure is as good as it possibly can be’).

Captains are relatively less likely to give top weight to the environment (‘the impact our infrastructure has on our environment’) and investment (‘paying for the costs of improving and building new infrastructure now, to avoid having to pay more later’).

Four in ten Captains (41%), rank ‘disruption’ (‘the amount of disruption we have to deal with while infrastructure is built or improved’) as the lowest priority.

Commenting on the findings, Ben Marshall, Research Director for Infrastructure at Ipsos MORI, said: “Just as we have detected an increase in the salience of rail infrastructure as an investment priority among the public, this survey among Captains of Industry finds a widely-held perception that our country’s transport network hinders their opportunities to grow their company.
We know from the wider survey of Captains of Industry that while most are positive about their own business performance, they are much gloomier about the national economy. Brexit plays a big role in this, but, on the evidence of our survey, discernible improvements to our country’s transport network ought to help boost business confidence and support its ambitions.

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