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Labour brands A47 upgrade announcement a “pre-election con trick” and promises an “independent infrastructure commission”

12:42 10 November 2014

Lara Norris.

Picture: James Bass

Lara Norris. Picture: James Bass

David Cameron’s promise of upgrade cash for the A47 has been branded a “pre-election con trick” by Labour’s new shadow transport secretary.

Michael Dugher, who took over the brief last week, said the Prime Minister had “constantly failed” to meet deadlines for improvements, and Labour would set up an “independent infrastructure commission” to identify where infrastructure investment was needed.

Lara Norris, prospective candidate for Great Yarmouth, said that while she welcomed any progress in making the Acle Straight safer, she claimed today’s announcement was not progress.

“This is making the same announcement for a third time - people want to see action not words. At the moment this so-called ‘announcement’ is just another stop on the road to nowhere.”

The Treasury said it would commission feasibility studies for roads improvements as part of a £100 billion splurge on infrastructure in June 2013 - but the A47 was missing from the list.

But just months after the government’s spending blueprint for 2015 to 2020 was announced, transport secretary Patrick McLouglin travelled to Norfolk to announce a study into how improvements on the A47 could be made.

Mr Cameron said today that between now and 2020 there will be £15bn of spending on 100 schemes - including the A47 - but this would be dependent on the Conservatives still holding power.

Local MPs have welcomed the Prime Minister’s promise that improvements to the A47 would be announced in the Autumn Statement next month.

Brandon Lewis said: “I have fought for improvements to the road since becoming the candidate for the area and am very encouraged by the Prime Minister’s speech today. We will hear more detail about the proposed improvements at the Autumn Statement in three weeks time.”

While North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said he had written to the Chancellor earlier this year to support calls for investment in the A47.

“Improvements to sections of the road are long overdue, and I hope that we will see substantive progress in the Autumn Statement next month.

Toby Coke, Norfolk County Council’s UKIP chairman of the Environment, Development and Transport Committee, said: “Investment into improving the A47 is vital and this interim statement is welcomed.

“However, the devil will be in the detail and that won’t become apparent until the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. We are seeking a real commitment from the government and anything less than £500m will show that the government is more concerned about funding it’s commitments overseas than it is funding vital infrastructure projects at home, like the A47.

“The £500m will cover the cost of the agreed priority programme of improvements between Norfolk County Council and the A47 Alliance, and on top of this we will be looking for a firm commitment to complete the dualling of the A47 from the A1 to Lowestoft in the medium term.”

Mr Dugher said: “This desperate so-called announcement of promised road improvements includes no additional money and people simply won’t fall for it. Cameron should be judged on his record, not on a speech, and his record on road investment has been nothing but a chaotic series of u-turns. “Cutting investment, then promising to restore it after 2015. Cancelling road schemes, like the A14, then reinstating them. And constantly failing to meet deadlines for the completion of improvements.”

He said Labour would create an independent infrastructure commission to “end the dither and delay on the decisions”.

CLA Eastern Regional Director Nicola Currie, said: “After many years of intensive lobbying and with large-scale public support, it is heartening to see this Government take the call for improvements seriously. It is essential for the long-term health of the region that this route is strengthened – we need to cut journey times and improve safety.”

She said: “While investment in infrastructure is welcome and this is a significant announcement, we need to remember these are Conservative Party plans for the term of the next Parliament.

The CLA said there was no guarantee that any other party would either follow the plans through, or instigate them with as much investment.

She added: “We have no indication of where the investment would be made, how much it’s going to be, and when this could happen.

“There are many stretches of the A47 that need attention – in Norfolk the section between King’s Lynn and Norwich, and the Acle Straight, spring immediately to mind – so getting further detail is vital in understanding the impact this will have on the route and the region.”

36 comments

  • Anyone who thinks the Prime Minister runs this country is delusional. It really doesn't matter what the figurehead giving the appearance of being in power says, if it doesn't 'fit' with what they are being told to do, it doesn’t happen. You only have to look and see what Obama is doing to America to see the same is happening here. Blair and Bush were a putty in hands combination that allowed the stran.glehold to take place, Cameron and Obama have been swept along, and no one here in either party has the backbone to stand up to it. Personally I’d love to see what Farage could do.

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Wednesday, November 12, 2014

  • Labour should know about pre election con tricks. When Labour went back on their promise and did everything to support the Tories £650 million waste incinerstor.

    Report this comment

    Jack

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

  • well said Alecto, our main political parties are a joke, last nights pathetic vote on EU affairs made that perfectly clear, what a disgusting way to behave.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

  • Your announcement is a pre-election con trick, ours is a serious statement of fact. Yeah right, and the public don't believe either of you.

    Report this comment

    alecto

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

  • Lara Norris is quite right about the Acle Straight. The word is that although the Tories will put the A47 back into the Highways Programme they are poised to do another token "safety scheme" for the Acle Straight - i.e more white lines and signs, no dual carriageway and safety barriers. When is the Government going to get the message that the carnage on the Acle Straight will go on until the road is dualled. We need to designate the narrow strip of grazing land between the road and the railway line as a "transport corridor" so that design work can proceed on a proper dualling of the road between Acle and Yarmouth. nothing else will do!

    Report this comment

    Mick Castle

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

  • Lara Norris is quite right. The word is that although the Tories will put the A47 back into the Highways Programme they are poised to do another token "safety scheme" for the Acle Straight - i.e more white lines and signs, no dual carriageway and safety barriers. When is the Government going to get the message that the carnage on the Acle Straight will go on until the road is dualled. We need to designate the narrow strip of grazing land between the road and the railway line as a "transport corridor" so that design work can proceed on a proper dualling of the road between Acle and Yarmouth. nothing else will do!

    Report this comment

    Mick Castle

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • I say, this is not on, I mean, the EDP should report DC's announcement without prejudice, and then repeat it again when the Autumn statement is released, in order to emphasise the important "keep voting Conservative" message, what what. Bit like getting an EU referendum, repeal of fox hunting, and so much more, oft promised, never delivered. LOL

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Spork-Pies

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • Link Hylian.....aka.... " milecross " and about 50 others....." the biggest vote rigging scandel in world politics ..." . So bigger than the 100% turn out for Saddam Hussein in the 2002 Iraqi presidential election ? Keep 'em coming John.

    Report this comment

    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • the labour party accusing others of conning the electorate . For thirteen years labour pulled off the biggest vote rigging scandel in world politics by bring in millions of would be labour voters who they housed and gave benefits and jobs . Millions of posts since on webpages have accused labour of blatant vote rigging to win the last election . The british public can clearly see what this disgraceful party have done

    Report this comment

    Link Hylian

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • I reckon I will have passed on, by the time anything gets done, either k.illed on the A47 or old age would have got me.

    Report this comment

    Unemployed and Luvin it.

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • For the 3rd time - feels like the 30th time for the regularity the EDP repeat this story.

    Report this comment

    Police Commissioner ???

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • Catch up Rob44, they've already doubled the debt and there's another 6 months to go. In fact they've alrady borrowed more than Labour did in 13 years. What a joke. Talk about runing the country! All you need to know about Cameron's promise of the day was revealed on Look East news this evening: " the tories are hoping this announcement will take votes from UKIP and Labour." How very cynical the tories are. As always there's no detail to upset anyone, so you're all leaping on imrovements to the A47 in Norfolk because you don't look beyond your little county. Fact is that this road goes all the way to Leicester, so the money could be going anywhere. The point is this will suck in a few more gullible undecideds and that's the only point of it.

    Report this comment

    Police Commissioner ???

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • Another long term election argument between the same old protagonists who failed to deliver, a spat over nothing but getting heard. With global warming being a fact, and increased of flooding the reality, especially through the marshes up to Gt. yarmouth, any spend on such magnitude is wasted money. What for the dualling? the outer harbour is third rate and there is no promised fast ferry service. Wasteful electioneering with our money, the same old backbench fever and angst is setting in as our main party politicians are quivering to stay in power.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • Rob44 I bow to your greater knowledge. But he was right. Dual the Straight and you will end up with the biggest car park in the East at Yarmouth unless you also build a third crossing and a spur road to Caister. But look on the bright side, folks working in Yarmouth but living out of town ( which is most of them) will be able to get home earlier. But like the majority of other posts are pointing. We all know what is needed to make the Straight safer but no one in charge seems to want to get on and do anything about it. How much does a pot of white paint and a few road signs cost for heavens sake. Not half as much as the cost of a single fatal road and we have had too many of them down the years.

    Report this comment

    BG

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • To dual the Aclecstraight is a waste of money, other sections around Peterbourough and Norwich are in much more need are used much more. The Acle straight needs some speed cameras and road side barriers.

    Report this comment

    KeithS

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • Acle A47 could be improved on safety issues at very little cost. How, simply put in average speed camera at each end set at 50pmg, Almost every accident here is caused by speeding and therefore overtaking. That would be a major step, clearly duelling will never happen in my life time, but this may a big step in the right direction.

    Report this comment

    canaryken

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • BG wasn't it Lord Witty (labour) who pointed out that duallign the Acle straight was a waste of time money until the traffic relief schemes at the coast end were finalised other wise the only difference would be that the volume of traffic in the Acle to Yarmouth 'jam' occupied two lanes instead of one?

    Report this comment

    Rob44

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • blister, may I direct you to the National Audit Office where you will be able to see that your statement is wholly incorrect

    Report this comment

    Rob44

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • Jeffrey Osborne: Yes, & the £9bn negative on imports exports means the tories will have doubled the national debt in the 5 years they have been mismanaging things.

    Report this comment

    Rob44

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • Politicians disgust me! How many more people have to die and be injured on this road before something is done? I feel particularly nauseated that Cameron says the improvements will be conditional on the Conservatives winning power. I am not some left wing radical, I am a self employed businessman, but blatant electioneering like this just stinks! Get on with A47 improvements NOW! Mr Cameron and your team in Norfolk can count on me as another lost vote!.

    Report this comment

    Lord 'Elp-Us

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • Labour's answer to everything. Hold a commission. Just more money to another quango and civil servants

    Report this comment

    weaversway

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • This was part of Tony Wright`s adjournment debate speech to parliament in 1998."The story of dualling the Acle straight is rather like a game of snakes and ladders, except that there are no ladders, and, even after 27 years, the game has not left the first square. Predictably, the next roll of the dice produced another snake—the "Managing the Trunk Programme" document further restricted plans to improve the A47." The government in reply made their usual hollow promises. I think the only ones who actually got to grips with the Acle Straight were the Romans and it hasn`t really been improved upon since. Says a lot for their handywork.

    Report this comment

    BG

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • It's beggars belief that anyone can believe these charlatans any more, whether they be Labour or Tory, talk about shallow.

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • This is what I love about Labour. Their collective amnesia. Prior to Labour getting into government and all the time they were there we had promise after promise about the A47 but as usual it all came to nought. And nothing will come from the latest round from promises from whichever source they come from. No one is going to dual the Acle Straight. It will be just too costly and what is the point of building a road to no where. The port is a white elephant and the town in on its uppers. Let`s just stop all these charades and accept nothing is going to change. The only way to make the road safe is to have a 50 mph speed limit and a double white line down the centre of the road from Acle to Yarmouth.

    Report this comment

    BG

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • What ever party you support ,Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis. Is now a front bench MP which means he's a minister close to the prime minister.(well done ) Mr Lewis is turning out to be a MP that you don't just hear from at election time. . Example his Mercury column his leaflets his costal work ect. Making housing minister, sounds like hard work and ok to me. So I'm sure he would mention the A47 and the tragic accidents that keep happening in this area as much as he could. So let's hope

    Report this comment

    Pearl Allard

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • The national debt is rising faster under this Tory government... More debt in the last four years than in 13 years of Labour. Time to take your fingers out of your ears, EDP rightwhingers!

    Report this comment

    Jeffrey Osborne

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • And let us not forget a similar note left by Tory Reginald Maudling to his Labour successor James Callaghan in 1964: "Good luck, old c-o-c-k ... Sorry to leave it in such a mess." . Keep 'em coming John.

    Report this comment

    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • Overseas commitments Mr Coke? Why are UKIP so against humanitarian aid,which a lot of those commitments are? The UK can afford the overseas aid budget and I am proud that it does.

    Report this comment

    bedoomed

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • Let us not forget that the last labour government left us virtually bankrupt and a labour treasury minister left a note for his Tory successor saying 'sorry there is no money left we spent everything'

    Report this comment

    blister

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • What a cheek when we all know that Labour in government consistently underfunds East Anglia and Eastern England but ladles money all over the North, Labour supporting metropolitan councils, and Scotland. Compare the number of miles of motorway relative to population in Scotland for instance, with those in East Anglia. Look at the state of East Anglian and Lincolnshire roads in comparison with some other regions and the disparity in spending is obvious.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • Just think what this money could do for cycling,more rail for freight and trams.Roads is so 20th century.These could be exciting new times for the cyclist and public transport passengers.Single electric pods as cars would ensure a 20 MPH limit is adhered to but this is more to do with a cynical electoral politics that just will not work.

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • Sounds like more empty promises. Meanwhile people continue to die.

    Report this comment

    Keifs Bigland

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • All Labour ever did was put us in financial trouble and let alone they moan about this brilliant news regarding our roads. I for one am please we are starting to get some money spend on much needed upgrades.

    Report this comment

    Sweet cheeks

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • erm...13 years of the "good years" under the socialist (Lab?) party and not one upgrade to the A11 or A47 in that time. And they complain about missing deadlines? Talk about thin arguments

    Report this comment

    Testing_times

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • Perhaps we should put Norwich City Council in charge of the A47 - they could close it to everyone except buses , taxis & bicycles.

    Report this comment

    Sonia Head

    Monday, November 10, 2014

  • Who gives a ---- what labour think!

    Report this comment

    Bob Hunt

    Monday, November 10, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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