Autumn spending round heralds “infrastructure revolution”

An “infrastructure revolution” has been announced by Chancellor Sajid Javid in the government’s spending review, with investment in roads and motorways.

There is also to be an extra £2bn earmarked for Brexit delivery, a move that was welcomed by the FTA, but the RHA said it was disappointed there was no mention of the keenly anticipated cut in fuel duty.

Javid said decades of under-investment in infrastructure meant that the quality of the country’s infrastructure had left it trailing its competitors.

“We’re the fifth largest economy in the world,” he said. “It isn’t good enough that we’re so far behind on infrastructure.”

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) agreed, but cautioned that the statement was “long on ambition but short on detail”.

Mike Spicer, BCC policy director, added: “Businesses await the government’s infrastructure strategy to be published later this year.

“It’s time to stop the delays and press on with transformative projects like Heathrow’s third runway, commit to deliver all phases of HS2 and support industry plans for a shared rural network to extend mobile signal coverage.”

FTA head of policy and public affairs Heidi Skinner was pleased to see the announcement about a further £2bn in Brexit preparedness funding.

“The logistics industry is acutely aware of the need for government to support UK transport infrastructure, particularly at a time of such uncertainty for British business; without this, supply chains cannot continue to run smoothly and deliver the vital goods that our hospitals, schools and supermarkets need,” she said. “The efficient movement of freight in the UK is vital to the economy; it must not be stifled by inadequate infrastructure and a lack of capacity. To ensure delays and disruption are minimised and journey times remain reliable, it is of the utmost importance that links to our ports work as effectively as possible.”

However, the RHA said the Chancellor had missed a golden opportunity to provide haulage and logistics with a much needed “shot in the arm” and slash fuel duty.

Richard Burnett, RHA chief executive, said: “Every penny cut, either in the price of fuel or fuel duty, cuts the operating cost of a typical 44-tonne truck, doing 80,000 miles per year, by approximately £450 pa.

“UK hauliers already pay the highest levels of fuel duty on diesel fuel in Europe. Their European counterparts, paying similar duty levels enjoy an essential user rebate – in the case of Italy, this amounts to 19ppl.

“This is a critical time for hauliers. Now, more than ever, they need some good news.”

Source: Motor Transport Magazine

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