Over a third of businesses do not believe that the UK’s transport networks meet their needs, according to new research.
A survey of over 1,100 business across the UK by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) found that 39% of firms do not believe the UK’s rail network meets their needs in accessing new and existing customers, suppliers and employers, compared to 34% that do.
Commuters wait for trains at London Waterloo
The survey also found that 36% of businesses believe the UK rail network is less reliable than five years ago, compared to only 17% that say it is more reliable.
The poll revealed that 68% of businesses regard the country’s 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% believe it doesn’t.
However in the 30 days before the survey was conducted, 30% of respondents had not experienced road traffic congestion, while only 57% had experienced motorway congestion, and 49% road and rail maintenance.
Jane Gratton, head of business environment at the BCC, said: ‘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.’
She added: ‘Businesses also continue to report poor broadband and mobile coverage as an issue that impedes their operations.’
A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents the rail industry, said: ‘The partnership railway is delivering new investment which is transforming communities up and down the country from the Scottish Borders to the biggest construction project in European rail today, the Elizabeth line. We are delivering new infrastructure worth over £50bn in the next few years, which will generate £85bn in economic growth.’