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Lack of Investment in Transport Infrastructure will Remain a Drag Anchor on Growth in the Midlands

Responding to the announcement by the Secretary of State for Transport last week on the performance of Network Rail, Colin Leighfield, Director of B.E. Wedge and Chair of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce’s Transport Group said:

“The politically driven prejudice towards the Northern strategy appears to disadvantage the Midlands and that is not acceptable because the productive dynamism that is essential to the success of the economy is based more strongly here. Having HS2 is not enough on its own for this region: we have been asking for some time that the country’s aviation strategy and road building strategy all work together with HS2 to rebalance the economy.

“Some of the Secretary of State’s announcement on Network Rail CP5 Investment Programme is disturbing and whether the degree of improvement that is needed to achieve realistic targets in acceptable time scales will be addressed by these changes may take some time to evaluate. We support the challenge to weak performance but to add further delay approved spend smacks of Treasury influence to support pre-budget austerity measures.

“Transport infrastructure is not a political issue it is an economic one and until we have cross party support on a long term UK-wide multimodal transport infrastructure spending programme, the growth of areas of the UK like the Midlands will be weaker than necessary.”

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