The Chief Executive for Transport for the North (TfN) has welcomed the Chancellor’s promise to accelerate Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) in his Spending Round speech, but called for the government to commit to a “pipeline of road and rail projects.”
Barry White said that the government pledges must mirror those requests outlined previously through the Northern Budget if “we’re to truly tackle imbalance in the UK’s economy,” following Sajid Javid’s speech to Parliament.
The new Chancellor of the Exchequer used his Spending Round speech to outline what the government is planning to invest in the various sectors; transport and infrastructure have both been promised significant funding.
For transport, investment for cleaner and greener transport has been promised, whilst good news for TfN arrived in the form of reiterating commitment to the Manchester to Leeds line of NPR.
And following the Chancellor’s speech, Barry White TfN Chief Executive, welcomed the promises but also made it clear that the organisation will continue to press the North’s needs to the government.
He said: “Increased spending on infrastructure is welcome news, as well as reaffirmed commitment to accelerating Northern Powerhouse Rail.
“If we’re to truly tackle imbalance in the UK’s economy and power up the North, we need sustained and substantial investment in our infrastructure.
“We’ve outlined our asks for a Northern Budget – a pipeline of road and rail projects to the mid-2020s as well as full commitment to the whole Northern Powerhouse Rail network.
“We’ll continue to make the North’s needs known to government ahead of this autumn’s anticipated infrastructure strategy.”
The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, was more stern with his words. He believes words are not enough, and “bankable commitments” are required.
“We welcome the Chancellor’s focus in his statement on investing in transport in the North, but repeated promises have still not turned into detailed plans.
“The North needs bankable statements, not warm words.”