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New inquiry - Transport and the economy

27 July 2010

The Transport Committee has launched an inquiry into Transport and the economy. Interested parties are invited to submit evidence by Thursday 23 September 2010

A good transport system is a pre-condition of the long-term economic growth required to drive the UK’s economic recovery. At a time of major public expenditure cut-backs, it is vital that every pound is invested to greatest effect.
The Government has made it clear that reducing the fiscal deficit is its top priority and that public expenditure will be reduced in all areas except health and overseas aid. The Secretary of State for Transport has stated that, within the context of lower levels of expenditure, he will prioritise those transport investment schemes which support economic growth.

The relationship between transport and the UK’s long-term economic growth was investigated at length by Sir Rod Eddington in 2006.[1]  

The priorities for investment were identified as reducing congestion in urban areas, on key inter-urban corridors and at key international gateways (major ports and airports). The Transport Select Committee will inquire into whether conditions have materially changed since Sir Rod’s report and what the priorities should now be, in order to deliver growth, both nationally and regionally.

Contributors may wish to focus on the following issues:

• Have the UK’s economic conditions materially changed since the Eddington Transport Study and, if so, does this affect the relationship between transport spending and UK economic growth?

• What type of transport spending should be prioritised, in the context of an overall spending reduction, in order best to support regional and national economic growth?

• How should the balance between revenue and capital expenditure be altered?

• Are the current methods for assessing proposed transport schemes satisfactory?

• How will schemes be planned in the absence of regional bodies and following the revocation and abolition of regional spatial strategies?

Interested parties are invited to submit evidence by Thursday 23 September.

The Comprehensive Spending Review is due to be published in late October. The Committee would welcome supplementary written evidence relating to the CSR after then.

[1] The Eddington Transport Study, HM Treasury and Department for Transport, TSO, December 2006