News story

Chancellor's two-day infrastructure tour

Chancellor kicks off two-day tour to see how the government’s infrastructure plan is delivering road improvements across the country.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A303 road

Chancellor visits Wincanton depot on the A303 to hear how further infrastructure investment in the Autumn Statement could support the local economy

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, today (13 November 2014) visited Wincanton logistics depot outside Yeovil to hear how the government’s infrastructure plan could deliver further road improvements that relieve congestion for local businesses along the A303.

The visit formed the first leg of the Chancellor’s two-day tour to see how the government’s infrastructure plan is delivering road improvements across the country and hear directly from local businesses on what more the government can do and which areas need to be prioritised.

The government has committed to invest £15 billion in roads over the next parliament, as the Prime Minister announced earlier this week, with further details promised at next month’s Autumn Statement.

Wincanton, the largest UK-owned logistics provider with operations across the UK and Ireland, would clearly benefit from improvements to the A303, which is the most direct route from London to the Southwest.

With a fleet of over 4,000 vehicles fulfilling milk, retail, defence, fuels and construction contracts across the region, the company is supportive of initiatives that will reduce congestion, decrease emissions, cut costs and ultimately benefit consumers.

Local business leaders have campaigned for 20 years for measures to relieve congestion on the A303, and say cutting delays is vital for the West Country’s jobs and tourism. The government has responded to these calls by commissioning a feasibility study on this proposal, which is currently ongoing.

George Osborne said:

It has been incredibly useful to hear from Wincanton to understand their first-hand experiences of the challenges facing the A303 corridor, and the way that delays cost businesses time and money.

Thanks to our long-term economic plan, this country is now in the early stages of the biggest improvement programme for roads of the modern age, with this Government committed to investing £15 billion to road maintenance, repair and expansion.

Further improvements to the A303 would support the whole of the Southwest of England, which for too long has seen its infrastructure needs ignored. Work on the A303 would make it more reliable for businesses and safer for drivers, and I will be looking carefully at what we can do in the weeks ahead to support the region.

Chris Kingshott, MD at Wincanton, said:

We’re always looking to add value to our customers’ businesses and any improvement to infrastructure will have a positive impact which will also ultimately be good for consumers.

With over 4,000 commercial vehicles on the road every day, the safety of our drivers and the general public is of paramount importance and we welcome investment in motorways and major trunk roads that takes traffic off the smaller, single-lane country roads.

Chancellor visits improvements to Postwick Junction to discuss what further infrastructure investment is needed on the A47 to support the local area

On the second visit of his two-day tour, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne visited Postwick Junction near Norwich to see how the government’s long term economic plan is delivering road improvements on the A47 and to consider the case for prioritising further investment here in next month’s Autumn Statement. The visit marked the one-third completion point of the project, which began in May after the government gave the go-ahead in January for the £24.4 million road junction.

The government is spending up to £19 million on the new A47 hub, which will help to ease congestion at Postwick and develop two adjacent business parks, creating over 5,000 new jobs and allowing 600 new homes to be built. The project is also directly linked to the proposed Norwich Northern Distributor Road (NNDR) bypass, which represents an £86.5 million government investment in local authority transport.

George Osborne said:

It is great to visit Postwick Junction to see how the government’s infrastructure investment plan is improving the road network in Norwich. These improvements will cut down traffic congestion and bring new homes and thousands of new jobs to the area.

As investment in infrastructure is central to the government’s long-term economic plan, it is clear that further investment in the A47 is essential for growing the local economy of Norfolk. In the run up to the Autumn Statement, I will be carefully examining what more the government can do to invest in improvements for the East of England.

Day Two

Chancellor visits Blackpool to review A585 road works and to hear the case for further infrastructure investment in the North West

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, today (14 November 2014) visited Blackpool to see how investment on Bourne Way on the A585 is leading to economic growth, as the he looks for further investment opportunities to include in the biggest programme of road investment since the 1970s.

The Chancellor’s visit started at Blackpool’s Victrex PLC, a global polymer producer for the aerospace, automotive, electronics, energy and medical industries, to officially open and tour their new film plant. While there, he also met business leaders from the local area where he took part in a roundtable discussion on what further infrastructure investment they would like to see included in the Autumn Statement to support local growth in the North West.

The Chancellor then went on to visit Bourne Way on the A585, where work to expand the busy junction began this week. This investment will relieve traffic jams, providing a boost to local businesses, as well as improving safety for drivers and cyclists.

The government has dedicated around £3 million towards this scheme to widen the A585 by Bourne Way. The scheme, expected to complete in December 2014, will include the remodeling of the West Drive crossroads and update works on the Bourne Way T-junction to upgrade traffic controllers and improve pedestrian routes.

The Bourne Way project is one of 123 in the Chancellor’s £317 million ‘Pinch-Point Programme’, announced at the Autumn Statement in 2011. The programme is a two year initiative of works delivered together with larger schemes along the nation’s strategic road network. The programme, designed with input from councils and Local Enterprise Partnerships aims to help stimulate new development and local economic growth by improving road safety and tackling congestion bottle necks. In the North West, 28 projects worth £66 million are set to be delivered.

George Osborne said:

Meeting with local business leaders at Victrex, a growing British-based but global business, really highlighted to me the importance of robust infrastructure investment in supporting economic growth across the UK. For too long, areas like the North West have had their infrastructure needs ignored, which is why this government is committed to the biggest improvement programme for roads of the modern age.

Improving road infrastructure is a key part of this government’s long-term economic plan, because we know that relieving congestion and ensuring businesses and commuters have a road network fit for the 21st century are key to unlocking local growth. In the weeks ahead, I will be giving careful consideration to what further investment in infrastructure should be prioritised for Blackpool and the wider North West.

Tim Cooper, Managing Director of Victrex Polymer Solutions, said:

Victrex is a growing UK export champion and we are delighted to welcome the Chancellor to unveil our new £16 million polymer film plant, which has helped create high quality UK jobs.

We also welcome his support for infrastructure and transport investment to help companies such as Victrex remain competitive in a global market.

Whilst 97% of our sales are from outside the UK, we have a strong track record of investing and creating jobs here and, being at the forefront of UK science and innovation, we have stressed the importance of promoting science and engineering skills in the future. Having the right skills here in the UK will enable companies like ours to prosper and lead the way for UK plc across our global markets.

Published 13 November 2014
Last updated 14 November 2014 + show all updates
  1. Details added of day 2 visit to Blackpool to review A585 road works and to hear the case for further infrastructure investment in the North West
  2. Details on the second stop of the tour added: 'Chancellor visits improvements to Postwick Junction to discuss what further infrastructure investment is needed on the A47 to support the local area'
  3. First published.