Congestion and delays on our roads and motorways are annoyingly common features of our local news, work and life in general.

Plus, while improvements to capacity and the upgrading of local infrastructure is welcome, in this county, the protracted works on the local road and motorway network seem to have been going on for an eternity. As a result, delays and diversions have become the norm, rather than a rarity. Worse still, this has been the case for quite some time now.

This creates many challenges for county-based businesses and workers. After all, there is a saying that ‘time is money’.

This is particularly true for smaller businesses. Because every minute spent sitting in a traffic jam, is time that could be much better spent making products, providing services or running business matters. For the smallest businesses, with just a few employees, it is time that the owner, finance manager, sales manager, marketing manager, HR manager – who may in reality be just a few, multitasking people – are unable to be productive.

In counties like Worcestershire, some of our more rural business communities are particularly reliant upon roads, as they face the challenge of limited or no access to public transport.

For them and many others, congestion, poorly maintained local roads and the need for improved regional strategic planning are all combining to pose a significant challenge to economic growth. Our own research highlights that around half of all small firms think the UK’s roads and public transport system have deteriorated in recent years. It also shows that small businesses are overwhelmingly reliant on roads. Nine in 10 place high value on the network.

Politicians and policymakers often talk in terms of having a ‘roadmaps’ to the future. Roadmaps are all well and good... provided our roads function properly and can help, rather than hinder, progress!