More money must be invested in Britain’s overloaded transport system if the economy is to thrive, the CBI said today as it published a new survey of businesses and their staff.
The GfK NOP survey, conducted for the CBI with the support of Chiltern Railways and GNER, underscores transport’s vital importance to companies and employees. But it reveals widespread dissatisfaction with the nation’s infrastructure, and expectations that things will deteriorate further.
Fifty-one percent believe the reputation of the UK as a place to do business is being significantly harmed by transport problems, whilst 48 per cent said their company’s own reputation has suffered. Sixty-three per cent of companies in the survey said they expected the transport system to get worse in the next five years.
Forty-eight per cent of companies said that transport problems were having a substantial impact on their profitability.
The survey was released on the eve of the CBI’s Annual Conference in London, which features a transport session with Transport Secretary Alistair Darling, London Mayor Ken Livingstone and Highways Agency Chief Executive Archie Robertson.
The CBI believes the minimum needed to deliver improvements over the next decade is £300bn of public and private investment.
Sir Digby Jones, DG of the CBI, said: "Although transport spending has risen in recent years, there are decades of under-investment to deal with and it is clear that business still finds it far too difficult to get its goods to market and its people to work.
"Companies, of all sizes and sectors, rely on an integrated transport network to keep the wheels of business turning. We should all make more efficient use of transport – but unless we invest more to renew and upgrade the network, the economy cannot reach its full potential.
"The Government must also ensure more is done now to improve the transport network if its ‘business-friendly’ credentials are to have any credibility."
But, of course, building more roads, and upgrading the existing ones, doesn’t improve matters, it makes them worse. Little investment is made into viable alternatives to the car in urban areas.