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BCC: Don't cut transport investment

A new government must not cut spending on transport projects in order to boost public finances, the British Chambers of Commerce has warned.

Scrapping plans for key road, rail and airport improvements would be detrimental to the economy by creating less jobs and adding more pressure to the struggling construction sector, research by the BCC found.

The UK could gain £85 billion in economic benefits if thirteen regional and national transport projects over the next five years push ahead, it said.

Businesses across the UK said projects such as London’s Crossrail train link, country-wide road improvements and a third runway at Heathrow airport were “essential to the future success and growth of their regional economies” and should be guaranteed investment over the next 10 years.

David Frost, BCC director general, said: “Transport infrastructure cuts must not become a politically convenient way to slash spending after an election, especially when there are huge savings to be made in far larger budgets, including health, education and welfare.

He said the works would help boost economic growth as well as aiding the struggling construction sector.

The BCC put the total cost of building the projects at £29.8 billion - £3.1 billion per year over five years from the public purse combined with a £14.3 billion injection from the private sector.

The improvements include a replacement for the Forth road bridge in Scotland, a relief road on the M4 in Wales to ease congestion between Newport and Cardiff, expanding rail capacity in central Manchester and upgrading track on the East Coast Mainline, particularly in London, Peterborough and Doncaster.