UK Budget 2012: the road industry reacts
Investment is guaranteed, but new taxes and a controversial privatisation scheme are driving some around the bend. Roadtraffic-technology.com rounds up the reactions to the 2012 UK Budget from major players within the UK road industry.
RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister (on fuel tax)
"The Chancellor's decision to go ahead with the summer rise in fuel duty is as unsurprising as it will be disappointing to 34 million drivers, especially when the Chancellor acknowledges there is likely to be a further spike in oil prices.
"George Osborne said that taxes should be fair, simple, predictable and support work. Motoring tax fails on at least three of these measures and it is time for a review of exactly what fuel duty is for and who it impacts most."
Deloitte head of infrastructure and capital programmes Nick Prior
"Whilst there was little in terms of any announcements of new infrastructure investment, today's budget shows the importance that the government attaches to infrastructure and highlights recent announcements on issues such as private financing of roads, airport capacity in the South East and pension fund investment in infrastructure.
"The concern is therefore that we are still debating the government's aspirations and are no closer to getting the shovel in the ground."
KPMG head of infrastructure, building and construction Richard Threlfall
"Today's announcement of the creation of an initial £2bn pension infrastructure investment platform is tangible progress in getting UK pensions invested in UK assets.
"It is clear from the budget report that this fund is not intended to be invested in the risky construction phase of new infrastructure, but could be very effective in lowering the cost of infrastructure finance by being used to refinance construction-phase bank debts."
Transport infrastructure spending for 2012 will reach £22bn, £1bn less than in 2011.
British Cycling chief executive Ian Drake (on safe junctions)
"This announcement is a good step in the right direction and shows that the government has listened to British Cycling on the issue of making sure junctions are designed safely."
Ampium Founder Andrew Howe (on competitiveness and sustainable growth)
"We welcome this and future Government intervention with financial incentives and easy access to capital to accelerate the sustainable growth of UK cleantech industry providing wealth and job creation for the UK, while delivering significant carbon reduction. The outlook for innovative new start-ups in the UK has been negative with the on-going banking crisis making access to capital very difficult."
"Demonstration of Government's commitment to foster these new sustainable businesses in the UK will lead to strong economic growth and job creation in the clean tech sector in the face of global competition."
UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage
"The Chancellor's refusal to cut the proposed 3p a litre increase in fuel duty for August is a kick in the guts for hardworking families across the country. Refusing to budge on this demonstrates that he and his government do not understand the challenges facing real people in this country.
"Cutting this duty would have boosted growth, instead he continues to clobber the hard pressed motorist on top of the road tolls he plans to introduce."
Technology Strategy Board chief executive Iain Gray (on Catapult centres)
"Both future cities and transport systems will be incredibly important areas of growth in the next ten to 15 years. The market opportunity for integrated city systems is estimated to be worth £200bn a year by 2030. The market opportunity for effective transport systems is already valued at more than £190bn a year.
"The proposed Catapult centres in each of these areas will help UK businesses gain an important share of these markets through more rapid commercialisation of new ideas."
Cities Minister Greg Clark (on Catapult centres)
"Around the world, more and more people are living in cities. While this can cause great problems, it also provides a massive opportunity to provide solutions to those problems. The new Catapult will help British businesses and British researchers seize those opportunities, find innovative solutions and then sell those solutions to the world."
Transport Minister Theresa Villiers (on Catapult centres)
"I warmly welcome the plan to establish a Transport Systems Catapult centre. I can see such a centre making a significant contribution to reducing road congestion, reducing rail delays and improving end-to end journeys by bringing together companies to develop new innovative products and services.
"These will benefit both the UK transport system and help UK companies to sell these innovative solutions to the rest of the world. The DfT has set aside £17m to support this centre, which is in addition to the Technology Strategy Board contribution."
Roevin head Mark Tully (on engineering recruitment)
"The Chancellor's budget demonstrates continuing commitment to infrastructure investment as a catalyst for wider economic growth.
"From house-building to road and train infrastructure improvements, the government's investment pledges will provide extensive opportunities for UK engineers."