Fleet News

Industry calls for £250bn road spending

BRITISH industry has called on the Government to commit to spending more than £250 billion on transport over the next 10 years.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) claims business patience and public tolerance is 'exhausted' by the slow pace of improvements.

Digby Jones, director general, this week told the Government that such investment was needed between 2005 and 2015 if its 10-year transport plan was to be successful. The employers' organisation believes an extra £70 billion is needed on top of the Government's £180 billion earmarked for its 10-year plan.

Jones said: 'We have a first-rate economy and it deserves a first-rate transport system, not the substandard infrastructure that is currently letting down the whole country.

'The Government was bold in 2000 and committed to a long-term strategy – a welcome change for politicians. The original 10 Year Plan was full of promise but four years and £50 billion later there remain profound deficiencies in the UK transport system. The catalogue of transport nightmares gets ever longer.

'There has been so much effort from many people and a certain amount of progress, but the Plan has clearly stalled. Business and the public alike are becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of improvement.'

The CBI said its research showed that more than 85% of business leaders believed transport systems influenced the decisions of investors, but almost 70% rate the UK system as either poor or very poor.

It wants the Government to speed up major road enhancements and to make tackling congestion a priority.

Priorities on UK roads include the widening of the M1, M6 and M25.

Jones is urging all major political parties to sign up to the CBI's transport commitment and said businesses will press this message home in he run-up to the general election.

He added: 'An efficient transport system is vital for the success of companies, for jobs and for the prospects of the wider UK economy. Firms must be able to get their goods to market and people to work.'

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