Reactions to Government Spending Review
In his Spending Review yesterday, Chancellor George Osborne announced an increase in capital spending on transport to a total of £9.5 bn starting in 2015 and promised the largest investment in roads for half a century. Reaction to the announcement has been swift and generally favourable, with a few caveats; the Freight Transport Association welcomed the news and the recognition that improved transport links are vital for economic recovery.
James Hookham, FTA’s Managing Director – Policy & Communications, said: “We welcome the additional funding for infrastructure projects, and are anxious to work with the Government to make sure it is invested in those projects on which economic recovery depends. The Chancellor is right to recognise that transport investment is key to the economic recovery; however it is vital that the money made available today is put to work in the right places to deliver the biggest possible benefit to the country. Our list of Trade Routes, which has been supplied to the Treasury, maps where these priorities are in the country.”
This viewpoint is echoed by the The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, which also welcomed the Chancellor’s message that capital investment in roads and other transport infrastructure needs to be a priority.
However, it believes that Britain’s existing road network also needs greater attention and BVRLA chief executive, Gerry Keaney commented:
“Nine out of ten passenger miles are travelled on UK roads, as is the majority of freight movement. Britain urgently requires major investment in its roads and road maintenance and we would urge the government to look at a fairer distribution of the £47 billion raised in motoring taxes each year. Taxpaying road users deserve more for their money.”
Joanne Marden of the Road Safety Foundation said: “Any review of spend on transport infrastructure in the UK should be a golden opportunity to put safety at the heart of its strategy. Safety must to be paramount in any reform and there is an urgent need to fix the safety faults that are endemic across the motorway and trunk road network. We know that many safety measures are low cost and reap huge benefits for the safety of all road users”.
For the politicians, the Chair of the Transport Committee, Louise Ellman MP, announced an enquiry into the strategic road network, saying: “An effective road network is essential for our economy and a strategic assessment of how best to provide this is long overdue. We will consider the Government’s forthcoming proposals for improving our roads, and the implications for all road users.”