Steve Rotheram says rail announcement is a “modest down payment on what’s really needed”

Steve Rotheram has acknowledged today’s announcement of a £300 million funding package for northern rail infrastructure, that includes proposals for passive provision for a new line from Liverpool connecting to the HS2 network as part of Northern Powerhouse Rail, but has said it is a modest down payment on what is really required to rebalance the UK economy.

He commented:

“Northern leaders through Transport for the North were clear about our priorities for Northern Powerhouse Rail and we welcome this announcement by the Chancellor today as it enables us to progress with plans that would not only give us direct connectivity to the High Speed network but would also mean that the proposed Crossrail for the North has moved to the next stage and could start in Liverpool.

“This represents a significant step in the journey, but it is a modest down payment on what is really needed to rebalance our economy.”

“£300million sounds like a substantial investment, and it is certainly a step in the right direction following Chris Grayling’s initial cancellation of the Leeds to Manchester electrification earlier in the summer.”

The Metro Mayor has been campaigning with other northern political and business Leaders for a commitment from government to honour the Conservative manifesto pledge to deliver Northern Powerhouse Rail or Crossrail for the North – which would create a new West to East line connecting northern cities and facilitating greater economic agglomeration. He believes that today’s announcement comes as a direct consequence of that political pressure, including representations he made directly to the Chancellor when he met with northern mayors last month.

Steve Rotheram added:

“Today’s announcement in itself does not redress the massive imbalance in infrastructure investment between the North and South. We are still in a situation where for every £1 spent in the North, £6 is spent in London and the South East. The government have given an unequivocal commitment to delivering Crossrail 2 for London which is likely to cost in the region of £30billion pounds – 100 times what the Chancellor has pledged for the North today.”

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