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UK infrastructure is holding businesses back

3 April 2018

UK infrastructure is holding businesses backOver a third of UK businesses don't believe that the UK's road and rail networks are meeting their needs, according to new research by the British Chambers of Commerce.

The BCC survey of over 1,100 business found that 39% of firms don't believe that the UK's rail network meets their needs in accessing new and existing customers, suppliers and employers, compared to 34% that do.

The survey also found that 36% believe that the UK rail network is less reliable than five years ago, compared to only 17% that say it's more reliable.

On the UK's road network, the poll found that 68% of businesses regard the UK road network as less reliable compared to five years ago, with only 11% believing it is more reliable. While 47% of businesses believe the road network meets their needs, 41% say it doesn't.

In the 30 days before the survey was conducted, 70% of respondents had experienced road traffic congestion, 57% had been affected by motorway traffic congestion and 49% by road and rail maintenance.

As a result of travel delays in the previous month, 52% of businesses reported increased direct travel costs, 33% had been restricted in their access to existing or potential customers and 30% had increased the costs of their products or services.

Jane Gratton, BCC head of business environment, said: "Businesses rely on the road and rail networks to connect with customers, suppliers and staff. It's concerning that many businesses believe reliability has worsened in recent years, particularly on the road network. Capacity constraints, congestion and delays in the development of new routes have left businesses frustrated.

"Transport delays can cost businesses time, money and potential clients. For the UK to succeed post-Brexit, we need to fix the fundamentals here at home. Investing in physical and digital infrastructure is vital to the prosperity and competitiveness of the UK in the future."

Firms also reported that poor broadband and mobile coverage is affecting their operations. The BCC has launched the No More Not Spots campaign to encourage people to register their mobile not spots to help identify gaps in coverage.

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