Scottish commercial drivers disappointed by spending plan roadworks
By: William Hobson
22 November 2010
The unveiled spending plans for 2011-12 from the Scottish Government have been met with disappointment by many in driving jobs north of the border.
According to Road Transport, Scotland is to reduce its budget for transport works cut by £51m, as well as reducing its support for the freight industry and related infrastructure by two thirds. however, works on the M74 and M80 motorways have escaped the cuts and the £2bn work assigned to the Forth Crossing has also been protected.
However the cuts will have an inevitable effect on logistics work in Scotland and have been met with disappointment by many in the industry. Many drivers wanted the government to meet the £30bn commitments to transport spending made by Chancellor George Osborne during the Comprehensive Spending Review this year.
"We greatly regret the proposed reduction in the transport budget considering the vital role Scotland's road infrastructure plays in sustaining our economy," said Road Haulage Association (RHA) Director for Scotland, Phil Flanders. However he added that the RHA was "relieved that the overall cut is not greater" and "pleased that the replacement Forth Road bridge will go ahead."
The RHA has called for the Scottish government to move quickly on the M8 and Aberdeen Western Peripheral projects.
A similarly mixed reaction has been expressed at the Freight Transport Association (FTA). HGVUK reports that the FTA acknowledges the budget will bring some benefits to the country's supply chain and help maintain the county's position as a net exporter of goods - but that the freight industry will have to shoulder a disproportionate amount of the public sector deficit.
Chris MacRae, FTA's head of policy for Scotland, said: "Today's announcement has been a bit of a mixed bag for the freight industry in Scotland...with no firm commitment to invest in our trunk road network, and cuts planned to essential maintenance, there could also be an impact on road safety - we would urge policy makers to look again at FTA's budget submission which highlighted this as a key area of concern."
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