Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram’s response to the national Integrated Rail Plan
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said:
“The Integrated Rail Plan was a once in a generation opportunity to revolutionise our country’s rail network. Properly delivered, it had the potential to be as transformative for rail travel as Stephenson’s Rocket. Instead, they have proposed a service that could have been promoted by Gladstone in the Victorian era.
“What we have seen is a government pretending to deliver that transformation but doing it on the cheap. Communities across the North have been held back for decades, forced to accept sticking plaster solutions and grossly underfunded by government. Today’s announcement is a continuation of that.
“Earlier this year, I warned that the government were heading towards this path; that they would try to force us to accept a cheap and nasty option that would be detrimental, not only to our region, but to the wider North and UK as a whole.
“It won’t deliver the £16bn of economic benefit we were promised; it won’t free up freight capacity or take heavily-polluting HGVs off the road, and it won’t help connect our region with opportunities across the country. Instead, it looks set to cause us all of the pain of years long disruption with none of the benefits on the other side – and won’t be delivered any faster than existing plans.
“The Prime Minister and Chancellor are both on record talking about the vital importance of NPR to the North’s prospects. What does it say to 15m people across the North when they have chosen not to deliver it?
“It’s not too late to fix this. My door is open if the government are serious about levelling up the North and want to engage with us.”