The British Infrastructure Group of Parliamentarians (BIG), chaired by the Rt. Hon Grant Shapps MP, brings together cross-party MPs and Peers dedicated to promoting better infrastructure across the United Kingdom.
The core purpose of BIG is to ensure that every opportunity for growth is seized, with bold and thoughtful recommendations, backed by authoritative research and evidence.
Each report it releases focuses on a different area of current or future infrastructure need, identifying shortcomings and setting out measures for improvement.
There is no standing membership of BIG, rather Parliamentarians sign up to individual reports and their names are listed within each report. On other occasions, BIG will commission research and publish it as a Discussion or Green Paper without individual Parliamentarians’ names attached. Typically campaigning-type projects – .e.g better broadband, mobile coverage, roads, scrapping air passenger duty, etc – will include a large list of supporting Parliamentarians, whereas research-based projects – e.g. what’s happening in our energy market – are published by BIG as research-only Green Papers, intended to provoke debate.
BIG firmly believes that Britain should lead the world in cutting-edge policy development and infrastructure investment, in order to drive our economy forward for the benefit of both this and future generations.
It is in this spirit that BIG has so far released 10 reports focused on how British infrastructure can be improved in different sectors; from broadband to highways management; airport expansion to the energy grid.
The inaugural report published by BIG in January 2016, ‘Broadbad’, highlighted the serious problems that the British broadband network is facing. Comprehensive research found that approximately 5.7 million people in the UK have internet connections that do not reach Ofcom’s ‘acceptable’ minimum download speed. BIG called on Ofcom to address the systemic under-investment caused by the ‘natural monopoly’ of BT and Openreach.
BIG research has also revealed the overwhelming benefits that relaxing Sunday trading laws would have for high streets across the county. In ‘Sunday Trading for the 21st Century’, an analysis of how our shopping habits have changed over the past two decades highlighted the economic benefits of extending Sunday trading hours in the UK.
In ‘We’re Jammin’’, BIG published brand new data to demonstrate just how cluttered the UK’s roads are with traffic control measures. This third report urged local authorities to call time on installing increasing numbers of traffic control measures without first considering their wider impact.
BIG has also published comprehensive research on airport expansion, derived from newly-sought information from over 140 major stakeholders in the industry. The report, entitled ‘Gate Now Closing’, argues that the Government must select a new hub as a matter of urgency, and calls for a staffed reduction in our rates of Airport Passenger Duty.
BIG reports offer fresh evidence and new perspectives on how British infrastructure can fuel growth across the country.
The Rt. Hon Grant Shapps MP