The FTA has told the Chancellor that investment in roads and rail infrastructure is key to the country’s future growth in its submission ahead of his 2015 Spending Review.
Chancellor George Osbourne will publish his review on 25 November, setting out how the Government will invest in priority public services and deliver the £20 billion further savings required to eliminate Britain’s deficit by 2019-20.
FTA says the UK economy’s reliance on freight means investing in the strategic roads and rail freight networks must remain high priority for the Government as these are vital to the efficient movement of goods throughout the country.
Karen Dee, FTA’s director of policy, said: “It is essential that spending plans for both rail and strategic roads remain protected, but we also need to invest in maintaining our existing networks and further developing those that will enable us to compete globally – for example in much-needed additional airport capacity in the south east.”
The 2015 Spending Review takes place against a backdrop of a UK economy that has grown for the tenth consecutive quarter and seen falls in food and fuel prices, which have both contributed to the low rate of inflation.
FTA’s submission gives detailed recommendations to stimulate growth including:
- ensuring effective implementation of the National Infrastructure Plan (NIS), Roads Investment Strategy (RIS) and the planned rail investments outlined in the High Level OutputSpecification (HLOS) for England and Wales for Control Period 5 (CP5) 2014-19
- improving the longer term capacity, performance and resilience of transport networks
- increasing productivity and improving skills
- guaranteeing that devolution will not reduce infrastructure spending at local level
Dee said: “Spending on improving skills should also be a priority as the Government looks for ways to increase productivity. Logistics and other sectors have been severely affected by a lack of funding for vocational training. With a current shortage of 50-60,000 HGV drivers, we’re urging Government to work with us to provide a solution which is good for both the logistics industry and the UK economy.”