NPR Network
Transport for the North's proposal for a rail network connecting the major cities across the North

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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One wonders if the MPs and those on the ‘Board’ of the Northern Powerhouse are really up to the job? They don’t even appear to understand that the Liverpool – Hull corridor together with the Newcastle – Sheffield axis IS the powerhouse of the UK (square mile left out of it). This plan is half -hearted and not dynamic or forward thinking enough. Cross-Rail 3 in London will have more chance and cost 10 times the sum; HMG are only interested in investing in the South East. There are towns in the northwest, Skelmersdale for example, that don’t have sufficient rail transport links.

By Billy

Bit tricky the Liverpool CR asking for more devolved powers when it had a £80m under spend in the last financial year. Rather undermines the case for Hapless Steve and his team. The under spend apparently due to lack of expertise/capacity in local Councils to bring schemes forward. Just a thought – why not engage something called the private sector, not just the usual suspects? Or alternatively, put money back into Council delivery teams and remove the city-region tier of government (that nobody asked for) and thus reduce admin. costs.

By John Smith

This might just get to Leeds from Liverpool via Manchester and Manchester Airport somewhere around the time of King George the 7th.Newcastle would be better off joining Scotland for all the respect it gets from Westminster. This is pie in the sky and we all know it. There are already rumblings about the cancellation of HS2. That will probably get to Milton Keynes and be cancelled and then be a 200mph commuter train for London workers. Why is Grayling attending this meeting? He cares not a jot about the North or the people in it. Perhaps he would like to explain to the people of Bolton and Bury why with a combined population of about 450.000 they do not have a train service between them and why towns in the Home Counties are getting a 15 billion pound trainset, when they already have fast links to London in abundance.

By Elephant

What guff. Northern Powerhouse is a marketing strap line. Sad that our local politicians support HS2 so blindly. It benefits London. That’s it.

By A Developer