CAMBRIDGESHIRE business leaders reacted with fury to the Government’s decision to axe the A14 improvement project.

CAMBRIDGESHIRE business leaders reacted with fury to the Government's decision to axe the A14 improvement project.

John Bridge, chief executive of the county's chambers of commerce and a long-standing Conservative supporter who was honoured by former Prime Minister John Major accused the executive of being unwilling to pay for success.

"The Department for Transport has clearly put a price on economic success and growth for our region and has already decided it's not willing to pay it, despite the Eastern region making the third highest return to the Exchequer in the country," he said.

"George Osborne's rhetoric about supporting business growth and instilling the confidence needed for businesses to invest is meaningless when the Department for Transport itself admits that the route 'faces severe congestion, and that mobility along the route is critical for economic success and success and growth'.

"We're getting lots of talk and lots of words about the need to improve this route - what we need now is investment and action, not more studies."

Mr Bridge predicted that the decision would condemn Huntingdonshire to two further decades of intermittent gridlock.

"The average road improvement scheme of this stature takes around 14 years from conception to completion - so, if they're not even going to look at it for another four or five years, it means almost 20 years before anything will be done.

"How is it that the Government has allowed a scheme, previously approved and deemed affordable, to have been so ineptly managed by the Highways Agency that businesses and individuals across our region are now going to be subjected to the delays and misery that this route inflicts for the next 20 years?"

It may be significant that the scheme was first announced on All Fools' Day 2003. It should have opened this year.