County 'deserves fairer share of infrastructure funding pot', say Suffolk business leaders
PUBLISHED: 15:45 14 May 2019 | UPDATED: 15:45 14 May 2019
Sarah Lucy brown
Suffolk business leaders have called for a 'much fairer' share of road and rail infrastructure funding after the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) set out tests that a future national plan should meet.
NIC chair Sir John Armitt has written to the chancellor of the exchequer setting out four tests, including a long term perspective, clear goals, a firm funding commitment in line with the upper limit of the agreed guideline of 1.2% of gross domestic product every year, and 'a genuine commitment to change'.
John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said the commission was right to stress the importance of protecting infrastructure spend in the government's forthcoming spending review.
MORE - 'It's firmly on the radar' - transport secretary acknowledges A14 problems
"As a pivotal part of the UK, Suffolk deserves to have a much fairer share than before of funding to bring its road and rail infrastructure up to modern standards," he said.
Suffolk Chamber has lead a campaign to address seven key pinch points along the A14 in the county, and this was a case in point, he said.
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"Not only would the resulting improvements in travel times and a reduction in delays benefit local businesses, such investment would help companies in other parts of the UK as well," he said.
"Businesses rely on the UK's infrastructure to connect with customers, suppliers and staff. Many firms believe the reliability of the country's transport network in particular has worsened in recent years, as capacity constraints, congestion and delays in the development of new routes have left businesses frustrated.
"Investing in physical and digital infrastructure is vital to the prosperity and competitiveness of the UK and Suffolk in the future."
In January, the chamber told transport secretary Chris Grayling that the A14 in Suffolk is not fit for purpose - for the region or nation - and needs major investment.
The warning was delivered in Westminster by a delegation of top business leaders and politicians have backed the chamber's No More A14 Delays campaign, spearheaded by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, which argues hold-ups on the road are costing firms time and money - with evidence suggesting journey times have got worse.