MPs call for Northern Powerhouse Rail ‘downpayment’

A group of over 80 MPs have sent a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pushing for commitment to deliver Transport for the North’s strategic plan and fully devolve transport budgets to city and Metro Mayors.

Last week when Chancellor Philip Hammond told the treasury committee that regional productivity and schemes such as the £39bn Northern Powerhouse Rail would form a key part of the Spending Review, expected in the autumn.

The letter has been prepared at the request of the co-chairs of the Northern Powerhouse All-Party Parliamentary Group, made up of Conservative and Labour MPs, peers, business and civic leaders.

Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton and co-chair of the parliamentary group said: “As well as faster journey times, enhanced capacity and greater frequency, NPR would provide opportunities for our young people to secure the skilled jobs we need to drive productivity and link up the great cities of the North to stimulate economic growth.

“It is vital that NPR is delivered to the North alongside HS2, to create a high-speed network for the whole of the country and open up labour markets that are currently not accessible for young people across the North today. With HS2 and NPR it is not a case of either/or – we need both.”

Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership said: “The first down payment we need on the overall long-term need of £120bn for major Northern Powerhouse specific transport and city region schemes, is £39bn for Northern Powerhouse Rail. Last week the Chancellor committed himself to the case for the economics behind the project – which have consistently been Government policy now for the almost five years since the Northern Powerhouse was first adopted.

“Business and civic leaders stand firmly behind our Parliamentarians on a cross party basis making the case for the key investment that the North needs, to grow our economy and close the North – South divide.”

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