Azara Blog: The CBI says the government is not spending enough on transport

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Date published: 2005/11/28

The BBC says:

The CBI has called on the government to spend an extra £1bn on transport over the next two years, claiming delays are hitting output and stressing-out staff.

The business leaders' group wants the cash spent on road and rail projects, and demanded a £60bn injection to take spending in the next decade to £300bn.

Director general Sir Digby Jones has also called for the UK's "decrepit" transport planning to be reformed.

The government has commissioned a review of long-term transport needs.

The review is being conducted by Sir Rod Eddington, former boss of British Airways, and is due to report next spring.
"Germany built two high-speed railway lines and three airport terminals in the time it took us to have a planning inquiry to build Terminal 5 at Heathrow," Sir Digby told the BBC.

"This is no way for the fourth biggest economy on earth to operate."

Speaking at the CBI's conference, Transport Secretary Alistair Darling announced that £7m was being given to fund road pricing pilot schemes in seven local authorities including Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and Tyne and Wear.

"One of the biggest threats to economic expansion we face in the next 10 years is congestion on the roads in our towns and cities," he said.

"Congestion is bad for business, frustrates motorists and hurts local economies."

The usual griping from the CBI. But New Labour has been far too influenced on transport by the so-called environmental lobby, so road transport has taken a hammering. And the less said about rail transport the better. (The Tories and certainly the Lib Dems would be just as bad, if not worse.) The UK is unfortunately bad at almost all transport (exceptions being Ryanair -- run by the Irish -- and Easyjet -- run by a Greek). This is partly, but not totally, because of the nightmare planning system. Unfortunately road pricing will almost certainly have a net negative impact on the UK economy (someone has to pay for all the infrastructure and operating costs, which are immense and usually ignored when the government discusses road pricing), but the ruling elite love it because it is another tax to inflict on motorists.

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