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UK needs more roads and runways not trains, say manufacturers
Manufacturers want the Government to refocus infrastructure spending plans and give priority to road and airport expansion at the expense of rail as well as being more imaginative about financing schemes it is shown in a new survey.

Investment earmarked for high speed rail projects is 30pc more than the planned spending on road improvements but only 6pc of members surveyed by the EEF see rail as a priority.

EEF leaders feel the low rating reflects concern about the cost and long construction timetable associated with projects such as HS2 and want the Government to spell out the industrial benefits from the rail programmes.

They have decided to retain rail in the list of priority programmes and want the Government to accelerate the 30-year timetable for HS2 as well as doing more to convince manufacturers about the benefits.

Results of the survey are being used by the EEF to urge the Government to "put afterburners on transport strategy" by increasing priority for road investment, move faster on expansion at Heathrow and regional airports and take the politics out of infrastructure issues by setting up an independent commission.

The EEF and other business organisations see infrastructure as the key to providing the basis for long-term growth in the economy and are hoping the Government's transport strategy programme and spending review in the summer will provide stronger signals and include road pricing in funding models.

Suggestions for an independent commission to take control have so far won limited support. The EEF's proposal is for a body along the lines of the Committee on Climate Change, which has faced criticism about its support for wind farms.

Roger Salomone, head of business environment policy at the EEF, said: "Political prevarication and policy reversals have left Britain in the slow lane of developing its infrastructure for decades. Government must reassess its investment priorities and act faster on major issues like airport capacity."

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