For several months, this page has argued that the Government should take advantage of low interest rates to invest in infrastructure, to stimulate our economy.
So it is cheering that the Chancellor has said that he will revive a decade-old plan to ease congestion on the M4 in south Wales, by underwriting a £1bn project to create Britain’s second toll road.
But is this the best he can do? Well, as part of the additional £3bn infrastructure spending announced in the Budget, transport officials are also looking at upgrades to the A1 north of Newcastle, A47 in the Norfolk Broads, and A303 in the South-west. And that’s about it. These improvements are, in sum, lamentably short of what is required. Roads are the arteries of Britain, connecting companies and customers: we need dozens more, funded by tolls if need be. If this is the best the Treasury has to offer, our economic gridlock won’t abate soon.