CECA slams "underwhelming" Budget for north east construction

The Testo's roundabout improvement scheme at Boldon - one of the projects CECA North East wants to see brought forward.

Unless further detail emerges from the transport secretary over the coming days, it’s an underwhelming Budget for the north east of England’s needs in infrastructure, according to the region’s Civil Engineering Contractors' Association (CECA). 

Commenting on Phillip Hammond’s Budget, CECA director Stuart Miller said: “The chancellor began positively, with talk of investing in public services and improving productivity. However, only £90m has been earmarked out of the £23bn National Productivity Investment Fund to tackle pinch points on roads in the entire north. We eagerly await clarity and commitment on this.

“The A19, A1, A66 and A69 in our region all require further investment and urgently. London receives six times more investment per head than the north east. We maintain our region has the skill, expertise and capacity to deliver infrastructure projects that will raise further the region’s GVA and the outstanding productivity that the chancellor acknowledged in his speech,” Miller said.

Stephen Marshall, CECA North East chairman said: “While some other regions benefit from ‘mega projects’ the North East urgently needs numerous smaller yet still critical schemes to be expedited, to make an even bigger difference to the region’s productivity which the chancellor acknowledges.”

CECA North East says that a number of projects at development or planning stage in the region could be brought forward. They include:

  • A1 (Birtley to Coalhouse, Morpeth to Felton, and Alnwick to Ellingham)
  • A19 (Testo’s roundabout at Boldon, and Norton to Wynyard)
  • The A1/A19 Technology Enhancement project. 
  • Phase 3 of St Mary’s Way re-alignment in Sunderland 
  • Speeding upgrades for the A66 and A69 east-west transport corridors to improve freight movement from the region’s ports.

The association also says the region’s rail network would also immediately benefit by developing the  Darlington-Teesport  and the Ashington- Blyth-Tyne links. 

CECA also said that it had hoped that the government would take a lead in streamlining how public infrastructure projects are procured. A process quicker, simpler and more transparent - and weighted more towards quality and social value - would be a national benefit and save money at the same time, they said. 

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