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Summary of CPF consultation on Infrastructure, Investment & Devolution

In response to the CPF discussion on Infrastructure, Investment & Devolution, we received submissions from we received submissions from 70 CPF groups, representing 75 constituencies plus one Conservatives Abroad group and at least 566 members. Since the start of the year, at least 1,900 members from 202 constituencies have participated in CPF discussions. This includes 22 groups that have newly launched and 32 that have relaunched.

Of those who participated in this consultation, 6.2% were not Party members. About one-in-eighteen (5.3%) live in swing seats (constituencies that we won or lost in the 2019 general election), almost one-in-twelve (8.0%) opposition-held seats and six-in-seven (86.7%) Conservative-held seats. About one-in-three (35%) live in London and the South East, one-in-five (19%) in the South West, one-in-five (18%) in the Midlands, one-in-eight (13%) in the North or Yorkshire & Humber, and one-in-eight (13%) in the East.

Thank you to everybody who has been involved: your suggestions are continuing to help shape our Party’s policies and our country's future.

What follows is an overview of the key points raised by CPF groups plus a few representative quotations.

“The UK has the highest ratio of debt to GDP in the G7, so restoring the economy (& treating all the other ailments that are killing people through lack of treatment) must be prioritised.”

“Education must be a priority. Lockdown significantly impacted school-age pupils, particularly those for whom home-schooling was not effective or could not be delivered adequately.”

“Think long-term.”

“The key to levelling up is an overhaul of the education system, access to affordable homes, and allowing people to run businesses without unnecessary restrictions.”

“There is too much emphasis on measuring inputs, with little or no regard to quality of output.”

“Continued blackspots in broadband and mobile coverage, particularly away from large urban areas, leaves opportunity unfairly distributed geographically.”

“Mass cycling will not replace fast broadband or even old-fashioned commuting by rail, road, water, air or tram.”

“There are too many layers of Government involved in planning: Parish/Town Councils, District Councils, Country Councils and National Government.”

“The single greatest factor in housing supply is the availability of land.”

“It’s not necessarily about devolving more powers, it’s about giving clarity on exactly who and what departments of government are responsible for what and who exactly is accountable.”

“The NHS is in urgent need of decentralisation to enable greater input from local areas, as in Germany.”

“Quangos and Public bodies collectively spend £206 billion a year: there should be significant scope to reduce these outgoings without seriously detracting from the services delivered.”

  • Three-in-five CPF groups (62%) emphasised the need to invest in high-speed broadband.

  • Two-in-five (41%) insisted that HS2 should be scrapped; if it must proceed, they suggested that construction should start from the northern end. One-in-six (17%) said East-West connections should be the priority.

  • Over a third (35%) called for more investment in the North.

  • One third (34%) called for investment in hydrogen fuel for vehicles.

  • One quarter (25%) believe we should build small modular nuclear reactors for power generation.

  • One quarter (25%) called for a national, or at least regional, water distribution network, with more reservoirs and inter-regional transfers; and an update to our sewage system.

  • One quarter (25%) called for more investment in apprenticeships and retraining.

  • One-in-nine (11%) called for more affordable housing and one-in-nine (11%) also highlighted the benefits of using prefabricated housing.

  • Opinions on unitary authorities were mixed, with support vs opposition split 5-4.


There is not enough innovation in the UK water industry which will soon face great new challenges because of the depletion of groundwater. There are novel solutions out there but not enough attention is being paid to them and there is insufficient funding in Innovate UK as these new solutions require significant infrastructure spending. If this is not addressed soon the South will suffer the severe economic consequences of periodic water supply interruptions.


Whilst we are on the topic of infrastructure, our future SSN submarines need to be bigger to counter a resurgent Russia. But guess what, they will be constrained to the size of the existing dry dock facilities because the MOD is skint and nobody is looking outside the box to exploit the opportunity (probably the only one!) of COVID. The opportunity being to provide the Treasury with an infra investment opportunity that will provide thousands of skilled jobs, feed a UK based supply chain for a change and shore up our declining status as a tier one power with global military reach. Those news Aircraft carriers will be going nowhere without submarine protection people!


Could I politely suggest that the HS2 line is downgraded to a lower speed (and therefore less cost and environmental impact) and re-focussed on freight transport between dedicated hubs, thereby reducing Arctic lorry traffic and enabling local/regional sub-distribution with smaller electric lorries to the end point. It would also allow an establishment climb down on this huge white elephant and demonstrate government probity/listening. I dread to think what the network access fees will be - unaffordable springs to mind. Does anyone understand how many Mega watts of power it takes to propel a 300 tonne train at 200mph; more than we have capacity for us the answer.


The NHS is already decentralised to Local Authorities by the Health and Social Care Act 2012, but the problem is that the 220 Clinical Commissioning Groups (who collectively spend over £80bnpa) are run by GPs, who are not trained for the job, and are overwhelmed, burning out, and not elected, so are not accountable to anybody.

The result is a paralysis in statutory responsibility for commissioning, so treatments continue to be drug-based, against NICE guidance, many of which are doing more harm than good. The solution is simple. Transfer the ownership of CCGs to Health and Wellbeing Boards, who are democratically elected (as Morrison did for socialo care in 1948, but Bevan centralised. see, and papers on section …


As I new member of the CPF, I missed the majority of the earlier discussions pertaining to infrastructure, so this topic might well have been mentioned previously, but in view of the enormous cost of coronavirus to the country, isn't it time to look yet again at the viability of HS2?

I fully realise that a great deal of money has already been spent on this project, but wouldn't the balance of the money it's likely to cost be far better spent on both supporting the existing rail network, particularly across the north of the country, and in offsetting some of the national debt - or at least, not increasing it even further?

The coronavirus pandemic has shown us just…

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