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Transport investment to revive the economy

14 May 2020

By Simon Gentry, Newgate Public Affairs

The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps MP, did the honours today at the government’s press conference.   His focus was investment in cycling and walking infrastructure which he said was part of the government’s plan to revive the economy.  

Transport, he said, had a critical part to play in restarting the economy and a £ 2 billion package had been prepared to help the transition away from crowded trains and busses and to alternative forms of transport.  He urged people to cycle or walk to work, but added that if cycling or walking was not practical and if people had access to a car, they should use it to get to work. 

He noted that 416 separate network rail projects have been undertaken during the lockdown while the network was quiet.  He flagged too that the A14 upgrade was completed 7 months early and Highways England have delivered £ 200 million of road improvements. He then said that the government was committing £1.7 billion to improving local roads, fixing potholes and building new cycle lanes.

Mr Shapps said that, sadly, across the UK, 33,613 people have now died, in all settings, with or from, COVID-19. 428 people were reported to have died on 14 May. 

Professor Jonathan Van Tam revealed that Office of National Statistics figures show that 148,000 people in England had COVID-19 in the last two weeks. A record 126,000 were tested in the last 24 hours.  

Separately, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has estimated that the cost of the government’s effort to support the economy has risen to £123.2 billion.