Contractor urges chancellor Philip Hammond to deliver fillip for construction

Mace has called on the government to commit an extra £2bn to upgrade inter-city roads and railways in this week’s Autumn Statement.

The contractor has published its own report which finds that reducing journeys by an average of 60 seconds on key regional routes could provide a £17bn economic boost over the next five years.

The report, compiled by a former Treasury economist, suggests the north of England would see some of the greatest gains, with a 60-second journey reduction for passengers yielding £1bn a year from improved productivity.

A 60-second reduction would also benefit the Midlands economy to the tune of £750m a year, the report adds.

Chancellor Philip Hammond is expected to announce new cash for infrastructure and more detail on incentives to boost housebuilding when he presents his Autumn Statement to the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Among measures expected to be announced is a £1.3bn increase in funding for Britain’s roads, including £220m to tackle “pinch-points” on Highways England roads.

There will also be £27m of funding for an expressway connecting Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge, following the National Infrastructure Commission’s recommendation to back the project.

Transport experts at Mace believe a one-off injection of £2bn at the Autumn Statement could pay for upgrades, such as road widening or rail signalling upgrades, and should target areas with the “greatest potential” such as regional city connections.

Jason Millett, COO of Major Programmes and Infrastructure at Mace, said: “As we take steps to leave the EU, it is critical to maintain progress on projects like HS2 and Heathrow that will make the UK an attractive place to invest.

“But our research also shows the big growth potential in smaller, regional transport investments and we call on the Chancellor to deliver this Brexit boost in his Autumn Statement.”