Could Suffolk lose out after budget spending cuts?

Although Chancellor Jeremy Hunt committed to a 1% rise in real terms for public spending for the next 12 months, official budget figures appear to show that the Department for Transport’s resource spending in 2024/25 will fall from £8.2bn this year to only £5.7bn.

There are fears this could hit proposals to upgrade vital rail junctions at Haughley and Ely which are vital for freight trains going to and from Felixstowe and Harwich.

Stephen Britt, chair of Suffolk Chamber’s Transport & Infrastructure Group, said: “In spite of an outline business case showing that for every £1 spent on upgrading the junctions there would be nearly £5 in economic and environmental benefits, the project has not been progressed by Government.

“This news of big departmental cuts further reduces the chances that the necessary work to significantly move the project forward will begin in the near future – if at all.”

In recent months, Suffolk Chamber has been lobbying ministers and Rachel Reeves, the shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, to commit to releasing funds to commence detailed onsite work.

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Paul Simon, Suffolk Chamber’s head of public affairs, added: “we need urgent clarification as to what this might mean for the Ely/Haughley schemes, as we are worried that these significant budget cuts might make it even less likely that much needed on-site work can commence.

“We are writing to our current MPs, Secretary of State Mark Harper, Rail Minister Huw Merriman and their respective shadow ministers seeking answers and reassurance.”

There are also fears that the cuts to infrastructure spending could further delay improvements to the A14 in Suffolk – including the Copdock Interchange on the edge of Ipswich which is a major bottleneck for traffic.

Ipswich Star | Business