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Budget 2009 REACTION: Ceca says budget 'missed opportunity' for transport R&M

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association said today it regretted a “missed opportunity” in today’s Budget after calls were ignored for repair and maintenance work on the transport network.

Ceca predicted £300 million of the £1 billion fiscal stimulus package put forward at the time of the Pre-Budget Report in November would not be spent in 2009.

It since urged the Chancellor to immediately redirect the remaining £300 million into repair and maintenance spending on roads with an additional £300 million to be put forward from 2010 onwards to make up the future shortfall.

Ceca said there is a backlog of work, locally and nationally, that could be undertaken almost immediately, without delays to gain permissions and with the added advantage of being more labour intensive, providing continued employment often at local level.

Ceca chief executive Rosemary Beales said: “Despite what appears to be good news for construction as the Government has put forward a package of measures that may have a positive effect on house building and mortgage lending, the Government missed an opportunity to target spending on transport repair and maintenance.

“Putting the money that won’t be spent in 2009 on transport schemes in to repair and maintenance would have delivered workload in a struggling sector almost immediately.

“It is a huge shame that the Chancellor did not take this opportunity to support civil engineering.

“Overall, the budget offers no new money for transport infrastructure. It is a huge shame that the Chancellor did not take this opportunity to support civil engineering.”