Cameron announces £15 billion for roads improvement

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
11 November 2014

UK prime minister David Cameron has announced £15 billion of funding over the next five years to improve the UK’s road network.

Speaking at the CBI Annual Conference, Cameron said the country’s first Road Investment Strategy would be unveiled as the part of the upcoming Autumn Statement on 3 December, including “over 100 improvements to our major roads”.

“This will be nothing less than a roads revolution – one which will lead to quicker journey times, more jobs, and businesses boosted right across the country,” he said.

The planned improvements include the A303 in the south west, the A1 north of Newcastle, the A47 in the east of England and the A27 on the south coast.

Downing Street also said reform of the Highways Agency would make it a “world class infrastructure company” and there would be “the funding certainty needed to give the supply chain real confidence”.

The move follows criticism of “political barriers” to infrastructure investment highlighted in Taking The Long View: A New Approach to Infrastructure, a survey by the CBI and URS.

The report showed 96 per cent of firms see political uncertainty as “discouraging investment” and 93 per cent believe political rhetoric is “damaging confidence in markets”.

More than half of companies reported motorways had deteriorated in the last five years while 80 per cent remained concerned about where investment for new roads is coming from.

The survey, of 443 UK businesseses, also found concern over energy supplies and costs, with four-fifths of firms saying fears about future energy security are being factored into current investment decisions.

Almost half of all firms were dissatisfied with current digital networks, rising to 71 per cent in the IT sector, while 46 per cent of firms in London said indecision over new airport capacity was impacting investment decisions.

The CBI is calling for an independent body to be established to determine infrastructure needs and how they should be met.

Meanwhile, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has announced an action plan to give a "multi-billion pound lift" to UK manufacturing supply chains will be put in place from January.

Clegg said the aim of the plan was to encourage firms to use UK suppliers as “over half the supplies used in British manufacturing come from overseas”.

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