Call to fix 'creaking' road network

Business leaders have warned that the "creaking" road network in Wales needs attention, after an 8.1% cut in revenue spending for the economy and transport department over the next three years was announced.

The warning by theInstitute of Directors (IoD) came in the wake of the Assembly Government's draft budget, which announced a £10 million cut in the amount spent on transport and economy in 2013-14, compared with this year.

The department's capital budget faces a £116.5 million fall over the same period, while the Assembly Government faces an overall capital budget cut of 40.6% after inflation over the next three years.

The capital budget for trunk road network improvement and maintenance projects will fall from £75.4 million this year to £32.8 million in 2012-13.

Despite the cuts to the capital budget, the Assembly Government said that a bigger proportion of spending will go on green transport, with free bus passes, currently held by some 650,000 people, being protected.

The budget says spending will be focussed on "wide systemic issues" such as infrastructure, research and development, and improving the conditions to help businesses operate.

The IoD welcomed the commitment to protect spending on skills and acknowledged the administration faced a "difficult balancing act" in the wake of cuts imposed in Westminster.

But the organisation warned of the risks of not restoring the UK's financial stability, and said capital schemes and infrastructure projects should not be "radically diminished".

Robert Lloyd Griffiths, IoD Wales director, said: "It's vital that Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) ministers now make wise spending decisions and do all in their power to preserve vital infrastructure investment.

"Key parts of our infrastructure are creaking, particularly the roads network."

Copyright © Press Association 2010