Significant capital spending on transport infrastructure is needed in next Wednesday’s (26 June) spending review, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) says.
Ahead of Chancellor George Osborne’s spending review outcome, which is to be announced on 26 June for the period starting April 2015, the FTA’s submission to Government has called for it to ensure that infrastructure spending is protected.
The FTA says that investment in transport infrastructure rather than cuts, and creating the right climate for private sector investment, is the way to stimulate growth in the wider economy. It says that it will also ensure that transport infrastructure networks can cope with changing demands once there is a return to growth.
FTA has told the Chancellor that a significant proportion of the annual £3 billion capital spending, committed from 2015 onwards in the 2013 Budget, should include key transport infrastructure priorities, adding that government also needs to foster private sector confidence to encourage investment.
The 2013 spending review takes place against the backdrop of a UK economy which has experienced little or no growth over the past 18 months. Taking this into account and aware that Osborne has difficult choices to make within the spending review (as government spending will be cut but at the same time the Coalition has placed emphasis on the need to invest in the UK’s infrastructure networks), the FTA submission shows how government can help, firstly by providing investment and secondly by creating the necessary policy certainty which will allow the private sector to deliver where government either cannot or should not.
The FTA submission describes in detail the key outputs required from the spending review with priorities including:
- Increase the focus on protecting existing assets and encourage a more strategic approach to roads maintenance
- Target enhanced roads investment at the priority routes identified by FTA members, including reinstating projects currently ‘on-hold’ as a result of earlier spending cuts
- Continue to support improvements to rail freight facilities and ensure that track access charges remain at marginal cost
- Provide funds to share the cost of improvements linking private ports to public roads
- Ensure that the planning system takes full account of the national importance of schemes as well as the local implications
- Make a timely decision on additional airport capacity in the South East of England and to protect and increase night flight capability within the UK.
Karen Dee, FTA’s director of policy, said: “With competitiveness vital to securing economic growth and job creation, FTA believes that the measures it has put forward to the Chancellor would not only deliver long-term benefits through improved connectivity for UK industry, but would also provide a welcome additional boost to the economy during construction and give businesses the confidence necessary to invest, develop and innovate to support their customers.”