Philip Hammond

Chancellor to announce £400m Northern transport boost

Chancellor Philip Hammond is set to announce an extra £300m to improve rail links in the North of England, alongside £100m towards local road schemes in the North, in a speech to the Conservative Party conference today.

Hammond will announce an additional £300m of funding towards improving rail connectivity across the North of England at the conference in Manchester.

Hammond will also announce a £100m fund towards local road schemes across the North.

The road schemes, which will be funded from existing budgets, include 13 projects in the North West, 10 in the North East, and 10 in Yorkshire and the Humber.

“This investment will go towards ensuring HS2 infrastructure can link up with future Northern Powerhouse and Midlands rail projects – helping the towns and cities of the North reach their full potential,” the Chancellor will say.

Plans to electrify the Transpennine route had been cast into doubt after Transport Secretary Chris Grayling warned the project might not take place, and appeared to back London’s Crossrail 2 over the project this summer.

Grayling also announced the electrification of the rail line between Windermere and Oxenholme would no longer be going ahead.

However, Network Rail was given a £5m grant by the Department for Transport last month to develop technology to make the route more “safe and reliable”, according to Grayling.

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They talk about these figures like they are huge. The North needs billions, not a few hundred million. The new Metrolink line to the Trafford Centre is costing more than this sum. How can they be serious about rebalancing the economy when the resources that they are providing are in world terms, peanuts. Cancel Crossrail 2 in London and use the billions from that to give the people of the rest of Britain, not just the North, decent transport. London does not need any more transport links. It has more than enough. If people in Hertfordshire and Surrey have to get a mainline train to Central London and then get the tube, rather than a seamless journey from their front doors, then they are still living in a world, we can only dream about. How long is this prejudice going to continue? By the time this money is used for anything, it will just go on paying surveyors. Grayling and Hammond treat the North like a colony. When is that SMART road around Manchester, going to be finished? It is dangerously inadequate and there is never a soul working on it.

By Elephant

Agreed, elephant. Transport infrastructure isn’t my area of expertise, but £400m – even if it ever actually materialised, which I doubt – sounds like a drop in the ocean compared to the investment actually required.

By MancLad