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Transport: Finance

Volume 487: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if his Department will commission research into the effects of public spending on capital projects and programmes in respect of different modes of transport in stimulating economic activity. (250715)

In 2006 the Department for Transport published the Eddington Transport Study. The study reviewed a broad range of evidence to understand how transport can contribute to economic success. The study highlighted transport's pivotal role in supporting the UK's future economic success. The study is published on the internet at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/about/strategy/transportstrategy/eddingtonstudy

The Department has a comprehensive appraisal framework1 that is used to assess the costs and benefits of proposed transport schemes across all modes. It includes an ‘Economy Objective' concerned with improving the economic efficiency of transport, with a sub objective to provide beneficial wider economic impacts.

The appraisal framework builds on a broad base of evidence and research, including work produced for the Eddington Study. It builds in evidence on the value of time saved and reliability gains to businesses, which are important for economic efficiency. Recent evidence on the contribution of transport to national productivity, such as through transport's impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of the labour market is also being incorporated into the assessment framework for schemes.

The Department is currently undertaking research to develop an approach for evaluating the productivity effects of transport schemes, ex post (i.e. after they have been delivered). This forms part of longer term work to generate robust evidence about the actual effects of key transport schemes on business productivity.

1 The DFT appraisal guidance is on the Internet at the following address:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/webtag