Burnham And Rotheram
North West Metro Mayors Andy Burnham, left, and Steve Rotheram, back the Northern Budget campaign

Leaders demand Northern Budget to back transport

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Leaders from across the North have called on the Government to commit to a dedicated Northern Budget, to support better transport infrastructure and deliver on commitments previously promised as part of the Northern Powerhouse agenda.

The call, backed by the councils which make up Transport for the North’s board, comes days after recently-appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid announced a fast-tracked spending round for Government departments for the next year.

Northern leaders are calling for a commitment to three core “asks” for the North, “to get the bare essentials in better transport infrastructure in the short, medium and long-term”.

It includes a commitment to a £7bn Northern infrastructure pipeline, featuring road and rail projects which could start in the next five years and “have the potential to transform connectivity in the short-term”.

In July, Boris Johnson’s promised to fund Northern Powerhouse Rail, the long-awaited high-speed rail route between Manchester and Leeds.

At the time, Johnson said: “I want to be the Prime Minister who does with Northern Powerhouse Rail what we did for Crossrail in London”. Further details on Northern Powerhouse Rail are due to feature in autumn’s Government Spending Review.

The latest set of asks call on the Government to consider short and long-term commitments to the North, at both this year’s fiscal event and the longer-term review of infrastructure expected in 2020.

The Northern councils have called for commitment to a £7bn Northern Infrastructure Pipeline, confirmation of commitment to build the full £39bn Northern Powerhouse Rail network by 2040, and a dedicated £1bn for Transport for the North over the next three years.

There have been copious attempts to pressure Government to commit funding to Northern transport, particularly rail, including in April this year when a group of more than 80 MPs attempted to petition then-Chancellor Philip Hammond to commit money to Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Barry White, chief executive of Transport for the North, said: “The North is now at the top of the national political agenda, with promises to balance out the UK’s economy and unleash our potential by better connecting our towns and cities. We now need a Northern Budget to make both the shovel-ready projects and the ambitious longer-term programmes like Northern Powerhouse Rail a reality.

“Closing the productivity gap between North and South is essential if we’re to compete on a global stage – but the North’s constrained by creaking infrastructure.

“These are the minimum requirements needed to overturn the underinvestment, under different Governments, stretching back decades. It’ll ensure the North becomes greater than the sum of its parts and will get the UK firing on all cylinders.

“Whilst the Government is planning for a one-year spending round for its departments against a Brexit backdrop, there is no reason why we can’t see real commitment and recognition of the ambitious pipeline of infrastructure investments the North so badly needs.”

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Looks like from recent announcements the government has little time for the LCR, with refusing to host the big NP event when they had no where else to go? Is LCR wasting it’s time trying to court the Government over anything, it’s certainaly a question that needs to be addressed?

By Liverpolitis

Our mayor, Steve Rotherham, needs to work flat out to ensure Liverpool is the starting point for HS3/Northern Powerhouse Rail. It is the most deliverable section and will have the biggest impact.

By Roscoe

“I want to be the Prime Minister who does with Northern Powerhouse Rail what we did for Crossrail in London” – years late and way over budget then

By Disgruntled Goat

These two always come across as lobbyists. Almost begging.The North West once the greatest industrial region on the planet now going cap in hand to the MP for Uxbridge.

By Elephant

The grey slime of George Osborne is already leaving its staining streaks across this supposedly fresh government.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the wasn’t a financial genius, as evidenced by the state of our towns and cities, the fact that violent crime is out of control, and that a new underclass has emerged to whom sleeping outdoors in all weathers has become normal. All that is and will cost this country plenty.

By Mike

I am sure when there is a General Election Boris will promise this money he will also promise to make it stop raining and promise free jelly and ice cream and promise England will win the football world cup and promise the streets will be paved with gold etc etc etc.

By Anonymous

I wonder why a proper economic audit of these rail projects and other potential economic infrastructure projects is not being done: not a simple commercial business case (profit or loss forecast) but whether an economic infrastructure project would be generally economically beneficial, Regional government (if we had it) could then borrow private investment capital at near-zero interest rates on the money market and pay it back as the economic benefits accrue. No need to beg money from Whitehall. It’s dead simple. Does nobody understand the difference between commercial enterprise and national economics?

By James Yates

Governments, particularly this one, are simply not interested in the North. Rotherham and Burnham are only wasting their breath. Boris will promise the earth. He has promised more billions to all and sundry in the last two weeks, which will take 25+ years to get. What did Hitler say about ‘small’ and ‘big’ lies? Boris will turn around and say we can have three HS3s….these are politicians we are talking about so words and promises mean nothing.

A £2,400 per person spending gap on transport alone between north and south.

Build a wall!!! a big wall, around the M25. Seal up any exit from London; alternatively a Dome, like in the Simpsons……..and leave them to it. ………….It will be cheeper!!!!

By Billy

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