Chester Railway Station, c Julia Hatmaker for Place North West

Cheshire West and Chester is one of the areas allocated to receive funding to support the improvement of local transport connections, including refurbishing railway stations and building new roads. Credit: PNW

Govt outlines how HS2 money will be spent in the North West

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced that £1.5bn from the shelved £36bn Birmingham-Manchester leg of the high-speed rail line will go towards Local Transport Fund schemes in the region in the years from 2025 to 2032.

The money is part of the government’s Network North project, which was announced in October as the government scrapped the Northern phase of HS2. At the time, the government committed £2.5bn to Northern local transport projects in smaller cities and towns – with another £2.2bn reserved for the Midlands.

Now, we have a better understanding of how that money will be spent and where. A total of 27 local authorities are set to receive yearly additional funding starting in 2025 to help support the building of new roads, filling of potholes, installation of EV charge points, improvement of pedestrian access, and the refurbishment of bus and rail stations.

The Department for Transport will advise councils on what projects to use the funding on.

In the North West, eight local authorities will benefit from the funds. Lancashire County Council has received the money, with a total of £494m committed for use by 2032. Other councils to be allocated funds were Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Cumberland, Warrington, and Westmorland and Furness.

Sunak described said the money would “deliver a new era of transport connectivity” in his announcement.

“This unprecedented investment will benefit more people, in more places, more quickly than HS2 ever would have done, and comes alongside the billions of pounds of funding we’ve already invested into our roads, buses and local transport services across the country,” he said.

Transport secretary Mark Harper added: “Today’s £1.48bn investment is truly game-changing for the smaller cities, towns, and rural communities across the North West, and is only possible because this government has a plan to improve local transport and is willing to take tough decisions like reallocating funding from the second phase of HS2,” he said.

Lord Patrick McLoughlin, chair of Transport for the North, threw in his support for the announcement as well.

“By having greater clarity on the funding that’s available, and consolidating funding streams, it helps remove inertia and accelerates delivery on the ground,” McLoughlin said.

Cumberland Council executive member for sustainable, resilient, and connected places Cllr Denise Rollo welcomed the additional funding.

“Maintaining a safe and reliable road network in Cumberland is a key priority for us, and with 3,400km of road to look after, every pound is welcome and will be put to good use to benefit road users across the whole of our area,” she said.

“The council will now work with local leaders and communities through our community panels to develop detailed plans to ensure the funding is spent on local transport priorities to get the best outcomes for our residents across Cumberland,” Rollo continued.

“We will also explore opportunities for more ambitious transport improvements over the next seven years which could include increasing the number of electric vehicle charge points, junction improvements, safer streets initiatives for children to walk to school and improved street lighting.”

You can see the full list of North West authorities to benefit from the additional funds, as well as the total they are set to receive during the seven years, below.

  • Blackburn with Darwen – £117m
  • Blackpool – £121m
  • Cheshire East – £181m
  • Cheshire West and Chester – £168m
  • Cumberland – £149m
  • Lancashire – £494m
  • Warrington – £121m
  • Westmorland and Furness – £129m total

Your Comments

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Pathetic. Is this the sweetener before he announces the 8 billion funding of the Bakerloo line extension? This man has no respect. He continues to add insult to injury.

By Elephant

Presumably where the marginal Tory seats are. Desperate.

By Anonymous

Just piecemeal scraps for the North West.
The utter contempt with which this Government treats the country outside of the South East is unbelievable.

By Peter Chapman

I wish they would just make Overground / S-Bahn style systems for all major UK cities and towns. The infrastructure is already there and would be quite easy to implement plus be a huge boost for local economies.

By Quail

Not another news outlet toeing the government’s line uncritically.

There is NO pot of money labelled HS2 waiting to be reallocated since large capital projects like this are paid for using borrowings. This is pure smoke and mirrors by the government. There is no benefit-cost-ratio for a pothole repair.

By Spending watch

Edinburgh – Manchester Airport TPE service one of the top five most congested in the country. Anything north of Preston is so unreliable as to deter anybody from using rail.

Gutting HS2 and slinging a few councils some grants for pot holes is obviously not a ‘game changer’, it’s a budgetary exercise – whether you think it’s prudential or foolish to have scrapped HS2.

Deeply patronising.

By Anonymous

Whilst £1.48 Bn is to be welcomed, HMG is tataking us for fools. For context the two stubb ends of the M’cr Airport Relief Road (approx 7 miles) cost £330 million and that was several years ago, so £1.48 Bn isn’t going to go very far. So much for the talking shop that is Northern Powehouse and so much for levelling up!…

By Grumpy Old Git

Pre-election promises that will never happen.
Only a fool would believe them.

By Anonymous

Take a fraction of the investment that was going to the North, tell em it’s a win and yaaay…go government go. …I mean really just go.

By Anonymous

How sad is that. Before we would have got HS2 and NPR which would have removed all the express trains on all routes for Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, Birmingham and Nottingham, allowing all those cities to convert their expansive, existing network into high frequency local and regional. Now we get pretty much nothing. Meanwhile, London is getting a new £10 billion 14 mile motorway that is far more expensive per mile than the northern leg of HS2.
You couldn’t make this up if you tried.


While London gets a new shiny high-speed railway, the North gets some filled in potholes that will no doubt be done poorly and will need re-doing in the next five years. Terrible short-termism is destroying this country. The North needs proper rail connectivity between it’s biggest cities and towns and proper metro style inner city links similar to those in European equivalents.

By Anonymous

It’s managed decline for the rest of the country, let’s encourage more people to move to overcrowded London.

By Anonymous

Unfortunately this is typical of this Government, no strategic plan, promise to throw bits money at marginal seats and spend billions in London and the South East. In place of a national transport infrastructure plan a few potholes might get filled in. Pathetic!

By Anonymous

It doesn’t matter as the Conservatives won’t be in Government after the next General Election, so they can say what they want now.

By Anonymous

It’s not really compensation for cancelling HS2, given how much of the money is going to places nowhere near where it would have gone. More like a rather desperate attempt to hold onto some Tory seats.
Even the £494 million won’t go very far in somewhere the size of Lancashire, given the short rail spur off the Kirkby-Wigan line to Skelmersdale was costed at somewhere between £210 and £700 million before it was dropped.

By Rotringer

I don’t understand why the government would give money to areas don’t don’t vote for them


This Government continues to underfund investment in all parts of the public estate, especially in the north, it continues to fail in addressing the 40 plus year requirements to invest in the north’s failed rail infrastructure, and manifestly demonstrates it willingness to use what limited public funds to try and influence the outcomes of the next General Election. We are not that stupid and we will not forget what has been done to the north by this, and previous, Governments. We need a Government that puts economic growth and productivity gains at the heart of a long term programme of national renewal recognising that transport infrastructure, investment in innovation and skills development must be delivered through a genuine partnership between Government and local partners (preferably Combined Authorities – sorry Cheshire).

By Anonymous

Beyond parody. Grand strategic plans that would have transformed the north replaced by filling in potholes and a few low cost local transport improvements that will have minimal economic impact. Meanwhile construction of the strategically irrelevant, ludicrously over-engineered, incompetently managed, wildly over-budget, inevitably prioritised London section of HS2 goes ahead, and we await announcement of the next multi-billion pound London transport project. Levelling up! What an absolute insult.

By Ex Tory voter

Those amounts equate to what a premier league football team would spend during a transfer window. Utterly pathetic, no surprise we are in such a mess.

By Loganberry

Some places get nothing from the Tories and nothing from Labour , meanwhile other places get funding from both.
Places like Spain, Italy, and even Portugal have better transport networks then us.

By Anonymous

Just to put it into perspective the approximate figure for High Speed rail across Europe is 20000 kms with another 14000 under construction.

This breaks down into:
Germany- 1658 kms
France- 2800 kms
Portugal- 227 kms
Spain – 4000 kms
Italy- 1342 kms
Finland- 1120 kms
Sweden- 860kms
UK- 113 kms.

I have travel through Europe by train and their systems are generally better than the UK in addition to the HS element.

By Peter Chapman

Central government in London collects taxes nationwide which means locally, then London officials work out what to spend it on or not, and decide some may be spent on necessary things like fixing potholes in local roads, safetying local footpaths for children, and better street lighting. Why use are local councils if they have no money to invest in essentials? Democracy is a PR game.

By Anonymous

The Tories are likely finished in the next election they’ve shot themselves in both feet. The worrying thing is that there is no one there in the wings who will come in and make a real difference.

By Anonymous

Appalling. This proves that the Northern Powerhouse Partnership is a dead duck. They promised a lot and delivered less than nothing.

By Mancunian

Hopefully, Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East Councils will be able to proceed with the long awaited reopening of the railway line between Northwich and Sandbach to passengers with new stations at Gadbrook Park and Middlewich.

By Stephen Dent

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