WITHAM MP Dame Priti Patel has said ‘more needs to be done’ to improve connectivity in the county after meeting with the Transport Secretary.

Dame Priti and the Essex Chambers of Commerce hosted a dinner meeting with the Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper, in Parliament.

Businesses from across Essex joined Dame Priti and the Chambers’ chief executive Denise Rossiter to hear from the Mr Harper about the department’s work to invest in transport infrastructure.

Other discussions included the A12 Widening Scheme, A120 dualling scheme, the Lower Thames Crossing, rail investment and trade through the county’s ports and airports.

Some of Essex’s most high-profile businesses were present and had the opportunity to ask both Dame Priti and Mr Harper questions relating to their sector and to highlight the benefits of investment in transport infrastructure to support economic growth and job creation. 

 Speaking after the meeting, Dame Priti said she was “delighted” with the meeting however stressed there is “still more work to do”.

Dame Priti said: “Essex is the county of entrepreneurs, and I was delighted to welcome businesses from the Chambers of Commerce to Parliament to meet with the Transport Secretary.

“Since being elected, I have worked with businesses to campaign for new investment in transport infrastructure as upgrades to our roads and railways make our county more attractive for businesses to trade, grow and create jobs.

“Before 2010, Essex had been neglected, but over the last 14 years we’ve secured significant levels of funding and support from the Government for road and rail infrastructure and the new trains on our railways, the forthcoming Beaulieu Park Station and improvements the A127 are making a difference.

“There is still more to do to improve connectivity in the county and schemes like the Lower Thames Crossing, the widening of the A12 and the dualling of the A120 have widespread support from the business community.

“It is important Government ministers hear directly from local businesses about how we can all work closely together to secure more economic growth and success for Essex.”