UK Road and Rail Infrastructure Failing North East Business
The results, based on a survey, by the British Chamber of Commerce, of over 1,100 business across the UK, found that 39% of firms don’t believe that UK’s rail network meets their needs in accessing new and existing customers, suppliers and employers, compared to 34% that do.
The survey also found that over a third of businesses (36%) believe that the UK rail network is less reliable than five years ago, compared to only 17% that say it’s more reliable.
In relation to the UK’s road network, the survey found that 68% of businesses regard the UK road network as less reliable compared to five years ago, with only 11% believing it is more reliable. While 47% of businesses believe the road network meets their needs, nearly as many believe it doesn’t (41%).
In the 30 days before the survey was conducted, 70% of respondents had experienced road traffic congestion, 57% motorway traffic congestion, and 49% road and rail maintenance.
As a result of travel delays in the previous month, 52% of businesses reported increased direct travel costs, 33% had been restricted in their access to existing or potential customers, and 30% had increased costs of products/services.
Jane Gratton, Head of Business Environment at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
“Businesses rely on the road and rail networks to connect with customers, suppliers and staff. It’s concerning that many businesses believe reliability has worsened in recent years, particularly on the road network. Capacity constraints, congestion and delays in the development of new routes have left businesses frustrated.
“Transport delays can cost businesses time, money and potential clients. For the UK to succeed post-Brexit, we need to fix the fundamentals here at home. Investing in physical and digital infrastructure is vital to the prosperity and competitiveness of the UK in the future.
“Businesses also continue to report poor broadband and mobile coverage as an issue that impedes their operations. To improve mobile coverage across the UK, the BCC has launched its No More Not Spots campaign to encourage people to register their mobile not spots with us to help identify gaps in coverage. For the UK to be a thriving and modern digital economy, we must start with getting the basics right.”
Easington MP Grahame Morris, who is leading the A19 road safety and investment campaign said:
“I welcome the research carried out by the British Chamber of Commerce. It reinforces the issues we have been highlighting to government in relation to the A19, and the need for road safety improvements.
As the principal economic driver in my constituency, our export focused manufacturing businesses in the region cannot afford to be at a standstill for hours on end. It undermines the ‘just in time’ manufacturing business model which employs significant numbers of people in our region.
The lack of investment, maintenance and upgrading of this vital economic highway is clearly holding back businesses in my constituency. We need a Government with some foresight to future-proof our infrastructure and support the development of our regional economy.
The South still enjoys an embarrassment of riches in terms of transport infrastructure and this continuation of this funding disparity will see the capital pull further away from the regions, particularly the northern region.
The level of investment required in the North East will not come from a London-centric Central government. Labour is committed to developing a network of regional development, dedicated to supporting growth and financing small businesses, co-operatives and innovative projects.
Alongside a new National Investment Bank, Labour will deliver the long term infrastructure investment and finance for Research and Development that will benefit business and the communities in which we live”