Investment projects in infrastructure or research, which can be carried out by employees of the State or by chosen suppliers, differ from ongoing services in two important ways:
- They come to an end when the project is delivered.
- Some projects, e.g. to provide infrastructure, may yield wider economic benefits later.
From the point of view of affordability, investment projects should be considered to be in a different category from ongoing government spend. Decisions to invest should evaluate the long-term benefits to the economy, although some might also be pursued on political grounds: to improve people’s quality of life.
Government action is supplementary to private initiatives in meeting the total requirement for investment, as described later (3.2.8).
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