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Plea for A14 upgrade to be included in prime minister’s coronavirus recovery plan

PUBLISHED: 18:12 30 June 2020 | UPDATED: 20:52 30 June 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving a speech during a visit to Dudley College of Technology in Dudley. Picture: Paul Ellis/PA Wire

Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving a speech during a visit to Dudley College of Technology in Dudley. Picture: Paul Ellis/PA Wire

Evening Standard

Business chiefs have warned of a “wasted opportunity” if improvements to the A14 are left out of the prime minister’s £5bn post-coronavirus recovery plan.

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce  Picture: David GarradJohn Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce Picture: David Garrad

Boris Johnson today vowed to “use this moment” to inject billions into the UK economy to help build and improve infrastructure - including a number of key highways across the country.

The Convervative leader told the country during a speech that plans set out in his election manifesto would be speeded up and “intensified”.

However, Mr Johnson has been urged to ensure upgrades to the A14 are included.

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said any omission of plans to upgrade the A14 would leave importers and exporters “disappointed”.

He said: “Build, Build, Build is a good headline, but unless the A14 in Suffolk – Britain’s Premier Trade Route – is specifically upgraded to support the country’s international trade push, then UK exporters and importers will be left disappointed by the government’s rationale.

“Linking the Port of Felixstowe to the Northern Powerhouse and the Midlands Engine, the A14 in Suffolk is the equivalent of a country track – and not fit for the UK’s free trade future.

“The Suffolk Chamber-led campaign to address seven key pinch points along its route and its elevation to an expressway achieved a partial success earlier in the year when the Copdock Interchange was earmarked for possible investment from 2025.

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“Unless this spending is brought forward to the present day and the other junctions included, it will be a wasted opportunity and the question will be asked When? When? When?”

His views were also reciprocated by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who said that the investment amounts to less than £100 per person.

He said: “The prime minister promised a new deal, but there’s not much there’s new, and it’s not much of a deal. People are likely to lose their jobs in huge numbers over the coming months and we need a laser-like focus on preserving those jobs.”

He added: “If these jobs are lost we are going to have mass unemployment.

“And what we really need is a Budget in July.”


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