Commenting ahead of the Prime Minister’s speech in the West Midlands, in which he will announce a ‘New Deal for Britain’, Doncaster Chamber President, Jill Wood said:
“Doncaster businesses judge the Prime Minister’s speech on infrastructure investment today. Judgement will come in five years’ time based on results and action not rhetoric. The UK has demonstrated during Covid-19, for example via the Nightingale Hospitals, that infrastructure investment can be delivered successfully at pace – as such, it is not unreasonable to expect that, within a five year window, that key Doncaster developments such as a new hospital and the Gateway East railway station serving Doncaster Sheffield Airport and the wider region could be completed or at least well underway.
“Additionally, there has been much debate – locally and nationally – about how the economic disruption caused by Covid-19 could be used to trigger a green industrial revolution. These encouraging words also need turning into action in a way that creates tangible opportunities for SMEs across the UK including Doncaster. Early wins could include major investment into green housing, significant scaling up of infrastructure to support electric vehicles and active travel, and rapid investment into the UK’s railways in order to take much more freight off our roads.
“Finally, it will not be enough to deliver a number of construction projects if they do not translate into opportunities for local businesses and local people. Shovels in the ground are a reasonable hallmark of success – a better benchmark would be testing whether or not the shovels are owned by a local business and are they in the hands of a local resident or apprentice.”