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UK firms gloomy about chances of infrastructure recovery

A man holds an umbrella as he looks out at London's Canary Wharf financial district from Greenwich park, July 2, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

LONDON (Reuters) - British businesses are pessimistic about the government's ability to deliver on its plan for a long-awaited pickup in infrastructure projects, a survey conducted by the CBI business group found.

Two-thirds of senior company executives questioned thought government policies would have no tangible impact on, or could even hinder, the execution of projects in areas such as road-building, expanding airports and new rail lines.

"Government has talked the talk on infrastructure for the last two years with too few signs of action," said John Cridland, director general of the CBI.

"The faltering speed of delivery on infrastructure creates a worrying sense that politicians lack the political will to tackle some of the major issues head-on."

In June, the government detailed 100 billion pounds ($160 billion) in capital investment plans as it countered calls from opposition leaders and the International Monetary Fund to spend more on infrastructure to kickstart the economy.

But a plan for a new high-speed railway, first proposed in 2009, still faces doubts among lawmakers from both ruling parties in parliament and a decision on whether to expand London's Heathrow airport has been delayed until 2015.

The survey, carried out between May and July by the CBI and auditing and tax firm KPMG, took the views of 526 senior executives from a range of British companies.

(Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)