Spending Cuts: Road and rail jobs are first victims

Grant Prior 14 years ago

A raft of strategic road schemes and Network Rail investment were among the first confirmed cuts following George Osborne’s £6.2bn savings round.

Details of dumped schemes are starting to emerge as the Department for Transport confirmed that improvements to the A23, the widening of the A453, and phase three of the M6 Birmingham box are to be deferred.

The Dft has been set the task of saving £683m by the chancellor. Other measures include a review of all local authority schemes set to receive DfT grants with £309m less going into local council coffers.

Network Rail is also cutting spending by £100m and £108m the Dft currently contributes to Transport for London will be chopped.

Civil Engineering Contractors Association National Director Rosemary Beales said: “These deferrals will be disappointing for the contractors who were working on these schemes and will have been looking forward to moving from the ECI stage to delivery.

“We have seen from CECA’s latest workload trends survey that we are now two years into a recession which has bought about some of the toughest trading conditions in well over a decade.

“The cancellation of these schemes is also bad news for the local economy in each of these areas where the DfT itself estimates 3.4 million hours were wasted in traffic jams in the last year.

“The A453, in particular, has a serious problem with congestion and safety and failing to relieve this is likely to have an adverse impact on both the creation of jobs and quality of life in the area. Deferring such schemes is a false economy.

“We are disappointed that these strategic road schemes have been deferred by a Government that is still in its very early days.

“We would have expected the strategic road network and the managed motorways programme to be included in the autumn spending review when proper consideration could be given to balancing the need to cut the deficit with the need to invest in infrastructure. Transport will play a key role in delivering a sustainable, low carbon recovery and we cannot afford to cut it adrift.“

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