Northern leaders demand clarity from Government over future transport investment
Wednesday 26th July 2017 @ 12:12 by Nigel P.
Business Greater Manchester News Tameside

  Mayors and Council Leaders representing five Major cities across the North, have  met and discussed future central government investment in transport infrastructure across the region. 

While the Government has endorsed the future of HS2, which will speed rail journeys between Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham and London,  the region’s leaders are concerned about confusion and fudge relating to improving the links connecting Northern cities from West to East.

Among the projects previously promised under the Northern Powerhouse concept were the updated electrification of the Trans Pennine rail link between Leeds and Manchester and much needed links from Liverpool and Manchester to Sheffield and Hull.

Such links have long been identified as vital to improving the economic and cultural synergy between these major conurbations that has been hindered by long journey times. Despite the proximity of the cities to each other.

A Northern train on current tracks between Manchester and Leeds.
The region’s leaders want major investment to up date the tracks serving northern cities from east to west.

 

Between them the leaders agreed the following statement:

“Recent statements by the Secretary of State for Transport were unexpected and have caused confusion and concern.

They have created considerable uncertainty about Government promises already given for developments on the Trans-Pennine services.

Yesterday, further statements have raised fears over the Government’s commitment to Northern Powerhouse Rail, the future of the Northern Powerhouse itself, and indeed the government’s stated aim of rebalancing the U.K. economy.

If the Government can’t be trusted to stick to promises already given, then it is hard to have confidence that they will deliver longer term agreements made to the North.

The Government urgently needs to clarify its position on both short-term and long-term commitments to the North and confirm if it remains committed to the Northern Powerhouse and Transport for the North.

To develop our shared approach to these crucial issues we agreed to convene a summit for northern political and business leaders in late August, ahead of the return of Parliament.

We call on the Government to return to working constructively with us to correct long-term imbalances in transport funding and to give the people of the North the rail services they deserve and have been promised.

The signatories to the statement were;

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester

Sir Richard Leese, Leader, Manchester City Council

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of Liverpool City-Region

Judith Blake, Leader, Leeds City Council

Julie Dore, Leader, Sheffield City Council

Joyce McCarty, Deputy Leader, Newcastle City Council