CBI in the construction driving seat? “Balfour Beatty must be rubbing their hands”.
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Following news of Katja Hall (left), the CBI’s deputy director-general, lobbying for more executive house building so that members’ employees can easily be relocated round the country, a reader has sent a link to a report about David Cameron’s new promise to the CBI’s annual conference.
The government is planning to spend £15bn to deal with more than 100 of the notorious problem hotspots on England’s roads by the end of the decade. David Cameron will announce on Monday that hundreds of extra lane miles will be created on motorways and trunk roads to speed up journey times.
Plans to build a tunnel under Stonehenge, widely advocated by John Cridland, Director-General of the CBI (on its ‘wish list’), are said to have been ‘looked at’ by the government to help ease congestion on the A303, a key arterial route from the south-west to London which is among those set to benefit from the proposed funding. Other details may be read here.
Our reader asks: how many remember the Barber Boom?
Thanks to the internet we can explore the background to his question. Quentin Letts’ tirade clarifies: “Dr Beeching’s plan to cut 100,000 jobs and close 2,000 railway stations, along with 5,000 miles of rail track was one of the most anti-progressive steps of the past 50 years. To this day, there are traffic jams and bottlenecks which can be traced to Beeching. Pollution is higher than it need be, thanks to Beeching. Suburban sprawl is bigger, the highlands of Wales and Scotland more deprived, and hundreds of thousands of commuters unhappier than they should be – thanks to bloody Beeching”.
Dr John Newson reminds us that the transport minister at the time was Ernest Marples, who had private interests in the road building industry.
His 1,000-mile national motorway-building programme, was complete by 1971 – by which time another 2,000 miles had been announced. Our reader continues:
“Anthony Barber, Chancellor of the Exchequer between 1970 and 1974, pumped millions into the economy to build roads which was followed by massive inflation.
”Road building is popular with governments as it doesn’t require too much importing of raw materials and does boost employment – albeit temporarily.
”Funny how this is going to run alongside HS2 – which will involve importing materials and skills”.
On 29th September it was reported that Balfour Beatty ‘s shares had closed 15.3% lower – following several months’ gradual decline. The company also said there would be a further shortfall of £75m this year in its UK construction services division, following two earlier profits warnings this year.
So hearing David Cameron’s promise – as our reader said – ”Balfour Beatty must be rubbing their hands” and should ardently support his re-election.
Posted on November 11, 2014, in Conflict of interest, Corporate political nexus, Democracy undermined, Economy, Finance, Government, Lobbying, Planning, Privatisation, Taxpayers' money, Vested interests and tagged CBI, HS2, Stonehenge, Transport. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.