Suffolk's roads 'short-changed'

ROADS in Suffolk receive some of the worst central Government funding in the East of England, new figures have revealed.

Anthony Bond

ROADS in Suffolk receive some of the worst central Government funding in the East of England, new figures have revealed.

Suffolk County Council received £25 million for transport initiatives in 2007/08 compared to £37 million for Norfolk County Council and £62 million for Cambridgeshire County Council.

The figures, obtained by Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley, show that Cambridgeshire County Council receives £21 of funding per mile of road - compared with £6 per mile for Suffolk County Council.

Mr Ruffley said he would raise the issue with Ruth Kelly, the Secretary of State for Transport, and demand that Suffolk receives more.

“I am staggered that Suffolk continues to receive some of the worst central Government funding in the East of England for road transport initiatives.

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“There are initiatives across Suffolk, such as the Great Barton bypass, which are continually put on the back burner due to a lack of funding. Were Suffolk to receive the level of investment enjoyed by its neighbours this and other projects would be a reality.

“This is not just about getting a fair deal for Suffolk it is about saving lives on our roads. The A143 is one of the most dangerous roads in Suffolk and it is desperately in need of investment.

“It defies belief that Cambridgeshire receives three times as much funding per mile of road than Suffolk.”

However, Conservative county councillor Guy McGregor, who is in charge of roads and transport at Suffolk County Council, said Mr Ruffley should concentrate on other matters.

“If David Ruffley concentrated upon things which were central Government responsibility, such as the A14, and campaigned to get improvements on them then that is the right and proper place for a member of parliament to campaign.”

Mr McGregor said he had not had the opportunity to compare the figures, but added the whole of the eastern region was “grossly under-funded” in terms of transport infrastructure.

A Department for Transport spokesman said figures per head of population showed that Suffolk was funded on a par with most of the other counties in the region.

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