Response to Government Spending Announcement

The Government’s emphasis on transport, energy and superfast broadband in this morning’s announcement has been applauded by two of the region’s advocates of infrastructure investment.

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Institution of Civil Engineers South West (ICE) have welcomed the Government’s plans.

Chris Garcia, Chief Executive of the Heart of the South West LEP said: “This investment into our infrastructure is vital for building resilience in the Heart of the South West area.

“The additional support for Hinkley Point, the biggest engineering project in Europe, is a significant boost to the area.  It will be fundamental in driving growth and provide a wealth of opportunity for businesses through the supply chain.

“The £250m for superfast rural broadband is critical to our future economic success.  The rural economy has a lot to contribute to UKPLC.  We need to compete in a global economy, accessing global markets and to do this effectively we need high speed connectivity.”

Trish Johnson, Regional Director for the Institution of Civil Engineers South West, said: “Only last week, ICE issued its annual ‘State of the Nation’ report, which this year focused on transport.  With its peripheral location and recent extreme weather, this is a particularly critical issue for the South West.

“An effective road network is crucial for our businesses and communities.  We only need to look back at Winter 2012 to understand the impact our stressed transport infrastructure has on our economy.”

“The A303 has long been a priority for the region.  As a second route into the far South West, it is a crucial part of the strategic road network.  Upgrading it will not only ensure increased resilience, but will also ease some of the issues of congestion that occur during the tourist season.

“We welcome the news that the government has pledged to carry out a feasibility study into dualling the A303.  Now, we need to know the timescales and the next steps.”