Chancellor in Liverpool to unveil transport, science deals

George Osborne is due to announce a £34.4m transport infrastructure package and a new enterprise zone for the university district.

The transport package is part of the Government's ongoing support for the Atlantic Gateway project, aimed at building greater connections between Liverpool and Manchester, linking a series of developments along the Mersey and Ship Canal.

Osborne will announce:

  • £10.4m upgrade to the Halton Curve rail line to improve connectivity between Liverpool, Cheshire, Warrington and North Wales
  • £5.6m to improve access and road safety around Knowsley Industrial Park
  • £4m improvements to A5300 Knowsley Expressway to maximise the benefits of the new Mersey Gateway crossing and access to Liverpool John Lennon Airport
  • £14.4m upgrade of car parking and public transport connections on Newton-le-Willows rail interchange link to Parkside, St Helens

In addition, Osborne will announce that the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University have been successful in their bid to create one of four University Enterprise Zones across the country, with £5m match funding from government.

The £15m Sensor City facility will house and support new high tech businesses around sensor technologies. Sensors link technological devices and the world around them, capturing data such as temperature, humidity and pressure. They can be used in everything from home security systems to medical technology and high value manufacturing.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer said: "Our long term economic plan is about delivering jobs and growth across all parts of Britain, and three quarters of the net new private sector jobs created since 2010 have been outside London. But there is more we need to do. Today I take the next step to build a Northern Powerhouse. I said we would back key infrastructure and science. Today I do that with £35m in transport upgrades for the Atlantic Gateway and a new University Enterprise Zone in Liverpool."

Robert Hough, chairman of Liverpool City Region LEP, said: "Only recently, I called for an increase in infrastructure spend for the city region so that we can rebalance our economy and these initiatives announced form part of our £250m Growth Plan bid submitted to Government.

"We have always stressed the economic potential of the city region acting as a freight and logistics hub for Atlantic Gateway and the wider North and are therefore encouraged that this package recognises the importance these specific schemes to support that development. Our Growth Plan identified these four specific projects to enhance our transport network to directly support our freight and logistics ambitions, create jobs and grow the economy. We are hopeful that Government will approve further transport and other schemes when they announce the final outcomes of our Growth Deal negotiation."

Provost Prof Stephen Holloway, who led the bid from the University of Liverpool, said: "Creating a new space where ideas from our sensor research laboratories can be transformed into new start-ups is a very exciting prospect for both Universities and provides great opportunities for our students and staff."

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