Disappointing budget for highways | Smart Highways Magazine: Industry News

Disappointing budget for highways

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Maintenance contractors were left disappointed by George Osborne’s budget which contained no specific measures to boost the industry.

The Chancellor confirmed an extra £3bn in infrastructure spending.

But the added cash will not start flowing until 2015 and has been funded by cuts from Government departments including the Department for Transport.

Paul Fleetham, Managing Director, Lafarge Tarmac Contracting said: “I welcome the Chancellor’s £3 billion a year funding for infrastructure investment from 2015, but this will not provide the catalyst that the economy needs now.

“It is also disappointing that we must wait until the 2015/16 spending review to understand how this funding will be allocated.

“The Chancellor has missed an opportunity to use smaller schemes such as highways maintenance to drive immediate economic growth.

“Investing in local road maintenance would provide a boost to the national and regional economies, without the protracted planning delays that continue to stall progress on many of the larger infrastructure projects on the Government’s long wish-list.

“Crucially, investment in local roads, which account for 95 per cent of the UK’s network, would also help to renew our deteriorating road asset and tackle the £830 million maintenance shortfall that exists across England.”

John Wilkinson, managing director May Gurney Public Sector Services, added: “While the announcement of more money for infrastructure is welcome as a driver for growth, it is critical that funds are translated as rapidly as possible into shovel-ready projects if this extra money is to create jobs and economic regeneration.

“Lord Heseltine called for Local Enterprise Partnerships to be used to allocate central funding and we applaud this initiative.

“Empowering local authorities to work with private investors and developers to manage these projects should speed-up delivery as councils already have the networks and management structure to deliver these growth plans.

“We urge the Government to push this infrastructure plan forward and get the UK building for growth.”

 
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