Business leaders have warned of a ‘two-speed’ England unless the Government adopts a coherent approach to improving infrastructure, including a sub-national transport body (STB) with a clear role for each area of the country.
The CBI said its new report Driving Delivery: Turning plans into action on regional infrastructure identifies concerns that the complexity of infrastructure decision-making and a lack of transparency around how investment decisions are made are putting at risk the promise of greater connectivity.
Matthew Fell, its chief UK policy director, said: ‘England’s infrastructure is a patchwork quilt. It takes longer to get from Liverpool to Hull by train than from London to Paris.
'Firms have identified the most important projects across the country, but uncertainty and complexity on infrastructure decision making is blocking progress, deterring investors and holding back our regions from fully realising their incredible potential.
‘To set all regions up for success, we need a policy environment that turns plans into action. Increasing the funding allocated to local infrastructure in the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review, and having fewer, more impactful spending pots would put genuine power in the hands of local leaders.'
On the issue of STBs, the report states: ‘Frustration is growing though in those regions that are increasingly viewed as incapable of coming together and moving forward in the best interests of their area. To begin to tackle this, national and local decision makers must ensure that all regions are represented by a sub-national transport body to make their region’s case for investment.’
This story first appeared on Transport Network.