‘North must see quick results’

vision: The new Heysham bypass to the M6 is the type of scheme that could transform Lancashires roads

vision: The new Heysham bypass to the M6 is the type of scheme that could transform Lancashires roads

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A GOVERNMENT pledge to pump millions of pounds into the North’s roads and transport network is good news for Lancashire’s economy, business leaders have said.

But Chamber of Commerce leaders say improvements on the transport infrastucture need to be seen sooner rather than later.

Babs Murphy

Babs Murphy

Chancellor Philip Hammond revealed the measures in his autumn statement last week.

He announced an extra £550m for Local Enterprise Partnerships to help the drive to create jobs, homes and improve transport links.

That was on top of a £2.3bn housing infrastructure fund to help provide 100,000 new homes in high-demand areas, £1.4bn to deliver 40,000 extra affordable homes, and millions spent on roads and modernising signalling on Britain’s railways.

Babs Murphy, (pictured) chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are pleased that business calls for action on infrastructure have made an impact.

It is now critical for these upgrades to begin without delay, as they are crucial not just to business confidence, but also to local and national growth prospects.

“It is now critical for these upgrades to begin without delay, as they are crucial not just to business confidence, but also to local and national growth prospects.

“Transport improvements have positive knock-on effects, as they open up supply chains, generate thousands of new contracts for UK businesses, as well as enhance access to labour and new markets.

“While we want to see ‘quick start’ projects delivered, we also need a long-term outlook. Business wants the government and the National Infrastructure Commission to plan for the delivery of major projects that can help prepare the economy for the future.”

The Chamber also welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement that fuel duty would be frozen yet again.

Ms Murphy said: “The continued freeze is positive news for businesses, particularly amongst smaller firms and the self-employed, for whom transport and distribution costs account for a significant proportion of their cost base.”