The Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling MP, was in Taunton last Friday where he met with a group of regional business leaders including Stephen Henagulph, Chief Executive of Somerset Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber CEO took the opportunity to question the Transport Secretary on behalf of the region’s businesses, highlighting the need for real investment in the South West’s road and rail infrastructure to support the regional economy.
He questioned Chris Grayling MP on the government’s commitment to the South West, stressing the need for proper investment in the region’s transport infrastructure, including the A303, the A358 and the M5.
Henagulph remarked that many in the business community feel the region is not taken as seriously as other parts of the UK, with the focus of government seeming to be directed towards the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine.
He called on the Transport Secretary to provide an assurance that the South West would receive the recognition and investment it requires to improve transport infrastructure and enable businesses to grow.
Speaking after the meeting, Stephen Henagulph said: “This was a welcome opportunity to hear from the Secretary of State for Transport and whilst he confirmed that a number of actions are underway and funding is in place to support them, he was still not sufficiently specific in terms of timing for long-awaited projects such as the dualling of the A303. We will continue to work closely with our colleagues at the British Chambers of Commerce to keep the pressure on and ensure that these vital projects do not slip down the government’s agenda.”