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Rail Industry News Update August 2019

Posted by: Warren Drobac
Industry News

Northern leaders demand budget boost for the North

Key leaders from across the North of England have called for the Government to commit to a ‘Northern Budget’ to deliver a boost to the region’s infrastructure. They suggest that this budget could help the North’s economic fortunes flourish.

Board members of Transport for the North (TfN) have backed the call, and have asked the new Government to deliver on commitments previously promised to the region’s more than 15 million people as part of the Northern Powerhouse agenda.

Chancellor Sajid Javid announced last week that a fast-tracked spending round for Government departments is due in the next year.

As part of the call, leaders from the North have asked for a commitment to three core ‘asks’ in order to get the "bare essentials" in better transport infrastructure in the short, medium and long-term. Core commitments included:

  • A £7 billion Northern Infrastructure Pipeline – a list projects to be delivered by the mid-2020s.
  • Building the full £39 billion Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) network by 2040.
  • £1 billion for TfN over the next three years to deliver on development of Northern Powerhouse Rail and other schemes.

New Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already pledged to boost infrastructure in the North by delivering a new high-speed rail line between Manchester and Leeds.

Barry White, chief executive of TfN, said: “The North is now at the top of the national political agenda, with promises to balance out the UK’s economy and unleash our potential by better connecting our towns and cities.

“We now need a Northern Budget to make both the shovel-ready projects and the ambitious longer-term programmes like Northern Powerhouse Rail a reality. Closing the productivity gap between North and South is essential if we’re to compete on a global stage – but the North’s constrained by creaking infrastructure.

“Whilst the Government is planning for a one-year spending round for its departments against a Brexit backdrop, there is no reason why we can’t see real commitment and recognition of the ambitious pipeline of infrastructure investments the North so badly needs.”

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, added: “Government may look different, but our ‘asks’ are not. We’re consistent and focussed in our plan for what infrastructure the north needs to unlock its full potential, not just for its own benefit, but for the whole UK. A Northern Budget would be the ultimate demonstration of commitment.” Full story.

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