cover art for The Expert Factor:  Why is the UK so bad at infrastructure?

IFS Zooms In: The Economy

The Expert Factor: Why is the UK so bad at infrastructure?

Season 4, Ep. 24

From HS2 cancellations to Heathrow’s still unbuilt third runway, the over-budget Elizabeth line to the repeated delays to the Hinkley C nuclear reactor, why is the UK so bad at infrastructure projects? 

This week the Expert Factor team – Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Hannah White of the Institute for Government, and Anand Menon of UK in a Changing Europe – take a deep dive into what goes wrong when the UK wants to build big things. How did the costs for HS2 get so high? Is there the right level of government expertise to see through big infrastructure projects? Does the UK have a bigger NIMBY problem than other countries? And what could be done to learn from past mistakes?

More episodes

View all episodes

  • 18. ELECTION SPECIAL: Your questions answered

    In the final run up to the election, we answer your questions about everything from borrowing to growth and from AI to the part that luck plays in the economy.Become a member: out more:
  • 17. ELECTION SPECIAL: The big issues politicians haven't spoken about

    On Monday, we released our comprehensive analysis of the parties manifestos at an event in Westminster. After some time digesting and analysing the manifestos, we’ve concluded that neither of the main parties is being honest with voters about the challenges we face in coming years. So, what are the manifestos missing? What are the big challenges facing us? And what information should voters be aware of as they head to the polls?Become a member: out more:
  • 16. ELECTION SPECIAL: Has 'levelling up' worked?

    We discuss 'levelling up' and local government and see how much progress has been made. We also analyse the SNP and Plaid Cymru manifestos. Become a member: out more:
  • 15. ELECTION SPECIAL: The Reform UK and Green Party manifestos explained

    We discuss the Reform UK and Green Party manifestos and give our reaction to the policies and pledges within them.Find out more: a member:
  • 14. ELECTION SPECIAL: The Labour manifesto explained

    We discuss the Labour manifesto launched on Thursday and give our reaction to the policies and pledges within it.Find out more: a member:
  • 13. ELECTION SPECIAL: The Conservative manifesto explained

    We discuss the Conservative manifesto launched on Tuesday and give our reaction to the policies and pledges within it. Find out more: a member:
  • 12. ELECTION SPECIAL: The government's record on tax

    It’s manifesto week, and we’ll be coming to you with plenty of analysis of the promises, pledges and numbers. In this episode, we’ll dive into some work looking at the how the size and shape of the state have changed over recent decades, and how the tax system has changed since 2010. We'll also give our reaction to the Liberal Democrat manifesto. Find out more: a member:
  • 11. ELECTION SPECIAL: The 'conspiracy of silence' on the economy

    The last few days have seen plenty of competing claims about tax rises, but very little discussion of the very tight fiscal situation facing the next government. What problems will they face? Can growth ride to the rescue?Also in this episode, we explore what's happened to the education system, from funding and teacher pay, to falling pupil numbers and the impact of COVID.Find out more: a member:
  • 10. ELECTION SPECIAL: The UK economy since 2008

    Since 2008, the UK economy has faced a series of shocks and challenges, leaving the next government with a difficult task. From low growth to falling living standards, we ask what structural problems the next government faces.We also tackle announcements on limiting tax rises, apprenticeships and the NHS waiting list. Find out more: a member: