Poor transport connections are holding back businesses from thriving by exporting more, according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC)
The number of firms exporting across the UK has gone up from 22 per cent last year to 32 per cent this year, the group’s survey found, but more can be done to help businesses.
One in five of the 8,000 businesses which responded to the survey cited poor transport connections as a barrier to trading internationally.
Transport watchdog London TravelWatch has joined the calls for improvements to be made to the capital’s rail and road links to help businesses increase exports.
“It is very important that London’s road and rail links are improved to help people to get around to do business,” said a spokesman for London TravelWatch.
Nearly half (49 per cent) of businesses that would consider exporting said the cost of trade connections was a concern, while some 23 per cent said domestic transport links were a worry.
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The BCC recommends the government puts in place a comprehensive aviation strategy for the UK in order to encourage exports.
A world-class system of airports and connections should be built, unobstructed by politics and short-termism, the group said.
The South East’s capacity crunch should be alleviated and regional airports should have strong international connections, it said. Connections between regional and hub airports should also be maintained.
The government should also seek private sector investment infrastructure and should consider creating a national infrastructure bank or a fund that co-funds national and local infrastructure schemes.
London TravelWatch’s spokesman said there was plenty which could be done to improve transport links from the capital to encourage trade.
He said: “London is particularly dependent on public transport and improvements to the Tube and implementing the Crossrail project can help free up more road space for commercial vehicles.
“One of our transport users’ priorities is ‘a road network which is fit for purpose’ and measures that can be taken to ease congestion include effective maintenance of roads and traffic signals, swift completion of roadworks and improved information about roadworks to allow motorists to alter their journey plans where necessary.
“Any further investment in the road network would be welcome, whether this is private or from the public purse.”
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