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CBI chief says UK’s failing transport system needs £250bn investment

CBI boss Digby Jones is calling on the Government to commit at least £250bn of public and private investment to UK transport over the next ten years, as business patience and public tolerance is becoming exhausted by the slow pace of improvements.

The employers' organisation says this massive investment will be needed between 2005 and 2015 if the Government's revised and renewed 10 Year Transport Plan is to be successful.

The CBI estimate is £70bn more than the £180bn earmarked for the Government's original 10 Year Plan, an average of 40% extra investment each year, significantly higher than previous government estimates.

The level of overall investment is now the minimum required to make acceptable progress, says the CBI. Delivering a transport system to rival the best in Europe remains a dim prospect and would cost a great deal more.

Jones says: "The Government was bold in 2000 and committed to a long-term strategy - a welcome change for politicians. The original 10 Year Plan was full of promise but four years and £50bn later there remain profound deficiencies in the UK transport system. The catalogue of transport nightmares gets ever longer.

"Despite some positive developments and some good work by the Strategic Rail Authority and the Highways Agency, far too much of the original 10 Year Plan did not deliver the substantial, transforming change that was hoped for. We appreciate the long-term nature of transport investment but the government cannot make any more mistakes nor permit more delay.

"We are not calling on the government to break the bank. The scale of transport spending business is asking for would be a relatively small price to pay to deliver to the fourth largest economy in the world the transport system it deserves. In this globalised market place, competitiveness is everything and transport cannot be excused from the list", says Jones.

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