Danny Alexander to open ACE National Conference in March

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander will deliver the keynote address at the ACE’s National Conference in March and kick off an event which will explore the challenges facing the industry as it heads towards the General Elections.

Having spent the last five years at the heart of decision making in the Coalition, Alexander has first-hand experience of the way the industry can influence the cross party political debate surrounding infrastructure investment.

His experience means he will also be well placed to share observations on the impact infrastructure investment has made to economic growth and comment on how the consultancy sector can capitalise on regional devolution being hotly debated in the wake of the Scottish independence referendum.

Book your place at the ACE National Conference now - Wednesday 4 March. Every ACE member firm has two free places reserved to be claimed.

While in office the Coalition has outlined a number of initiatives for capital investment in roads, railways and housing. Most recently, the National Infrastructure Plan 2014, announced a commitment from the government to invest £15bn in road improvements, as well as a £2.3 billion pledge to improve flood defences, and a radical approach to new housing.

At this year’s conference, Alexander, who jointly chairs the National Infrastructure Plan Strategic Engagement Forum with ACE chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin, promises to bring an expert opinion on all matters concerning the planning funding and delivery of infrastructure.

The National Conference is themed around ‘Engineering Growth’ and takes place on Wednesday 4 March at the Westminster Conference Centre in Victoria Street, Westminster, London.

The one day event, now in its eight year, will bring together the industry to discuss and debate a range of issues including:

  • the political risk involved with the delivery of large-scale infrastructure projects. Leading industry experts will be on hand to discuss how best to combat the threat of simmering tensions as project kick off.
  • the funding mechanisms that can make or break a project. The debate continues to rage over ho best to fund infrastructure and financial experts will be on hand to set out the options.
  • the role that SMEs can play on large infrastructure projects. While it appears SMEs are often unable to access work on large-scale projects, for the UK to achieve its objectives in the near future and beyond, this perception must change.
  • the challenge of regional delivery. With the Scottish Referendum now firmly in the rear view mirror, devolution and decentralisation of power to areas across the UK means more delivery of infrastructure on a core city-region basis. Panellists will discuss the merits of increased engagements between core cities and how the consultancy sector can take advantage of devolution.
  • how can the engineering sector continue to demonstrate the economic benefits of infrastructure development. With the UK economy on an upward trajectory, continued investment in infrastructure remains critical to growth. This panel will debate the challenge.

Alongside Alexander, well-known economist Vicky Pryce will speak at this year’s conference.

As chief economic adviser at the Centre for Economics and Business Research, former Joint Head of the UK’s Government Economic Service and director general of economics at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, she will be well placed to judge and explain the value of investment in infrastructure.

Other confirmed speakers include Darryl Murphy, partner at KPMG Corporate Finance and Richard Abel, managing director at Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets.

For further information and to register to attend the ACE National Conference, visit or click here to book your place.

Every ACE member firm can claim two free places at the conference.