Manufacturing industry's confidence in UK infrastructure declining

EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, are demanding the government brings forward plans to upgrade the A1

M B PHOTOGRAPHY Liz Mayes, new regional head of North East EEF
Liz Mayes, new regional head of North East EEF

Manufacturers are calling on the government to plough investment into the UK’s “crumbling” road network, including support to upgrade the A1.

The call has been made by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, as part of a package of infrastructure measures they want to be tackled in the forthcoming Autumn Statement.

The package follows a survey showing deteriorating confidence in wide areas of UK infrastructure networks, notably the road system.

According to the survey, more than a third of companies view the motorway and A road network as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’, a view shared by almost 40% of companies over their local road network.

Around the same number of companies believe both the strategic, and local, road networks have worsened over the last few years.

As a result, more than two thirds of companies would put investment in the motorway and A road network in their top three priorities and almost 40% of companies their local road network.

The survey also backed EEF’s call for a permanent Infrastructure Authority with just under 60% of companies viewing the UK’s attempts at integrating different transport networks as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’, while not a single company viewed integrated networks as ‘very good’.

Among demands are calls to complete the job in reforming the Highways Agency, to guarantee the promised three-fold increase in road investment.

EEF also wants the government to bring forward solutions to road projects left on the ‘too difficult’ list for too long, including upgrades to the A1 and the A303 trunk road from Hampshire to Devon.

Liz Mayes, North East region director at EEF, said: “These results highlight widespread concern that the quality of business critical infrastructure is declining rather than improving, with the deterioration of the road network of particular concern.

“Roads are the backbone of the economy and the glue that holds the rest of the transport network together, with four-fifths of manufacturers saying they are critical to their business operations. Similar concerns exist about our energy and digital networks.

“The message from manufacturers to the Chancellor for the remainder of this Parliament is clear – finish the job on vital road, energy and broadband projects.

“As far as industry is concerned these are far more important than redirecting planning resources to new aspirational projects.”

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