London, 4 Apr 1997.
For immediate release.

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Government policy more damaging than bombs
Politicians and the media were quick to realise that the aim of whoever caused chaos on Britain's motorways on 3rd April 1997 was to damage the economy.
By planting bombs, and claiming the presence of other devices, the perpetrators caused severe disruption to business and inconvenience to travellers. It is widely recognised that this translates into a massive loss for the UK economy as a whole.

Yet the Government itself is to blame for the insidious, long term damage to the economy caused by its chronic failure to plan and build an adequate, strategic network of trunk roads. The lack of such a network causes congestion and delay, day-in day-out, year after year. This long term effect, though not as dramatic as the events of 3rd April, is likely to be more damaging.

For example, consider just the cut in roads expenditure announced in the November 1996 Budget. The Centre for Economics and Business Research estimates that this cut alone will reduce the Gross Domestic Product in the year 2000 by £838,000,000. The effect is cumulative: by 2010, GDP will be £4,294,000,000 lower and the economy will provide 47,000 fewer jobs than it would have done otherwise.

ABD spokesman for environmental issues, Julian Rowden, pointed out,

"Excessive delays on our roads, whether caused by criminals or Government policy, not only add to business costs - which are all eventually passed on to the consumer, they adversely affect people's quality of life, increasing stress and intruding on family life.

"Furthermore, stationery or slow moving traffic causes much more pollution than relatively clean, free-flowing traffic thus having an adverse effect on air quality."

 

Notes for Editors