A PLEDGE by Chancellor George Osborne to invest billions of pounds on housing, roads and rail has been welcomed by a Huddersfield-based business group.
But the Lockwood-based Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce called for more haste to get major infrastructure schemes under way.
The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement yesterday pledged £5bn over two years for infrastructure projects, including £1bn to upgrade major roads.
Chamber policy chief Steven Leigh said: “Building houses, roads and bridges and flood defences will help the construction industry kick-start the recovery, but we need ‘spade ready’ projects to get under way now..”
Mr Leigh welcomed extra money for UK Trade & Investment to help exporters, but added: “If the Chancellor is serious about increasing our exports to rebalance the economy, a lot more help needs to be given to exporters.”
Mr Leigh noted the Government’s commitment to setting up a British Business Bank to provide funds for small and medium-sized firms, but said the Chancellor had failed to say when it would be set up.
He said Mr Osborne was right to say that chambers of commerce could play a bigger role in providing business support, adding: “They are right at the heart of the business community and are ready and able to help.”
But he questioned the justification for “ring fending” foreign aid at a time of national austerity.
“A couple of weeks ago, the Prime Minister said we were in the middle of an economic war,” said Mr Leigh. “If we are in the middle of an economic war, why should the foreign aid budget of all things be a sacred cow?”