Suffolk Chamber calls on Ministers to press ahead with key road and rail schemes despite Brexit vote

Suffolk Chamber chief executive John Dugmore

Suffolk Chamber chief executive John Dugmore - Credit: Archant

The Government must press head with its commitment to major infrastructure projects in the East of England, despite uncertainty created by the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, leaders at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce said today.

John Dugmore, chief executive at Suffolk Chamber, said key schemes previously backed by ministers, such as new river crossings in Ipswich and Lowestoft and improved rail journey times between London, Ipswich and Norwich, should go ahead as planned, or even be brought forward.

And Suffolk Chamber president Sarah Howard said the indication yesterday from Chancellor George Osborne that a post referendum Budget in response to the Brexit vote would be delayed until the autumn must not be used as “a convenient excuse” to avoid making important decisions.

Mr Dugmore said that the Government’s commitment road and rail improvements for Suffolk already announced should be “followed through, and even brought forward, to stimulate the real world economy”.

“Furthermore, since Suffolk and the East of England as a whole is a net contributor to the Treasury we are also pressing for an early announcement on the East Anglia Rail franchise and our high expectations regarding the next stage of the Government’s Roads Investment Strategy (2020-2025) especially as it relates to much needed upgrades to the A14, A11, A12 and A47,” he added.

Mrs Howard said: “The decision to delay a post-referendum budget must not be a convenient excuse for ministers to duck these important choices. Action and momentum over the coming months are vital to stoking the embers of business confidence and these investment quick wins can help achieve that in our county and beyond.

“Suffolk Chamber is looking for leadership from both national and local politicians to ensure that they do not put politics before the needs of businesses.

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“The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), of which we are a part, is writing to political leaders today conveying these messages and we are looking to build on our excellent relationship with the seven Suffolk MPs and our council leaders to contribute to the kind of leadership most needed at present”.

Adam Marshall, acting director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said today that businesses wanted a steady stream of communication from ministers and the Bank of England, with stability, clarity and action the “watch-words” for firms.

He said: “So far, the priority for the Chancellor and the Governor has rightly been the question of stability, as markets and firms digest the electorate’s decision.

“However, attention swiftly needs to turn to delivering clarity. While it is prudent for the UK Government to delay firing the starting gun on negotiations with the European Union, firms want a clear timetable, and simultaneous action to support the wider economy.”