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Engineers call for rail, road and flood spending in Budget

Engineers have called on the government to reaffirm its commitment to infrastructure spending at next month’s Budget.

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (Ceca) both urged chancellor George Osborne to back construction investment on 8 July.

The speech will be the first opportunity the newly elected Conservative government has had to set out its detailed spending plans.

Ceca chief executive Alasdair Reisner said: “We want to see previously committed expenditure remain just that; we don’t want to see any cases being reopened.”

Resiner called for Osborne to publically reaffirm the government’s commitment to Highways England’s £11bn five-year expenditure plan, and the £43bn High Speed 2 scheme.

“We would like to see movement on Crossrail 2 and High Speed 3,” he added. “There will need to be additional funding for design work, or these schemes could suffer as Crossrail 1 did from plenty of desire but no funding. We don’t want to see schemes put on hold.”

The ICE called on the government to guarantee the existing £2.3bn six-year investment plan for new flood defences, and to match it with a six-year investment programme for maintaining existing defences.

Director general Nick Baveystock said the economic recovery was in the balance and required improved resilience as well as infrastructure spending to boost growth.

He added: “When public spending is tight, we know tough decisions must be made, but we hope the government acts with caution when it comes to spending cuts that could affect infrastructure delivery or impact on the progress made. The UK’s resilience, in particular, should not hang in the balance. 

“Resilience cannot be achieved through one-off cash injections to repair flood defences or patch up roads following extreme weather. It is a long term challenge which demands long term thinking.”

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