The Prime Minister said: “We are acting to build a more entrepreneurial economy. Tens of thousands of university and apprenticeship places and a new generation of technical schools.
“A new Green Investment Bank, so the technologies of the future are developed, jobs created and our environment protected.
“Big infrastructure projects like high speed rail, super-fast broadband, carbon capture and storage. A £1bn regional growth fund to stimulate enterprise in those areas where the private sector is weak.”
Contractors latched onto his words as a positive sign following a sustained campaign to protect infrastructure cash from savage cuts.
A recent survey conducted by ACE and CECA showed that two in three firms believe further cuts in transport infrastructure investment will damage their prospects over the next three years.
It also revealed that 77% of firms questioned believe they need access to effective and efficient transport links to grow over the coming three years.
Rosemary Beales, CECA National Director, said: “It is good to hear the Prime Minister acknowledge how vital infrastructure is in terms of business support.
“We hope he is setting the tone for how the government will handle investment in roads and rail over the coming three years, which is a crucial period for the economy and one in which the Government is looking to the private sector to power the recovery.
“We accept the need to get the public finances in good order, but as our survey showed, business of all kinds and sizes depend on access to good road and rail links to sustain productivity and provide growth. Infrastructure will play its part in the spending cuts but it must also be allowed to play its part in the recovery.”
Nelson Ogunshakin, ACE Chief Executive, said: “Our survey sets out the challenge for government in the Comprehensive Spending Review, and the Prime Minister’s comments today indicate that the government recognises this challenge. Focused investment can promote the productivity and growth the UK needs.
“The warning for government in this set of results is, that without investment, problems in transport infrastructure will hold back the recovery. Congested roads and clogged railways are increasing business costs now and, if left unaddressed, those costs will do nothing but increase at a time when the UK economy needs businesses to grow and invest.”