Key leaders from across the North of England have called for Government commitment to a ‘Northern Budget’ which could be used to deliver a boost to the region’s infrastructure.
The call has been backed by board members of Transport for the North (TfN), and asks the new Government to deliver on commitments previously promised to the region’s more than 15 million people as part of the Northern Powerhouse agenda.
Northern leaders have suggested that this budget could help the North’s economic fortunes flourish.
Chancellor Sajid Javid announced just days ago a fast-tracked spending round for Government departments for the next year.
As part of the call, leaders from the North have asked for a commitment to three core ‘asks’ in order to get the bare essential in better transport infrastructure in the short, medium and long-term.
Those core commitments included:
- A £7bn Northern Infrastructure Pipeline – a list of shovel-ready road and rail projects to be delivered by the mid-2020s.
- Building the full £39bn Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) network by 2040.
- A £1bn for TfN over the next three years to deliver on its vision, including funding for the development of Northern Powerhouse Rail and other road and rail schemes.
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already pledged to boost infrastructure in the North by delivering a new high-speed rail line between Manchester and Leeds.
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.
“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.”
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, added: “Government may look different, but our ‘asks’ are not.
“We’re consistent and focussed in our plan for what infrastructure the north needs to unlock its full potential, not just for its own benefit, but for the whole UK.
“A ‘Northern Budget’ would be the ultimate demonstration of commitment.”