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North demands fair deal from Govt on transport


Political and business leaders from across the North will gather later to demand a fair deal on transport from the Government.

The transport summit comes after Transport Secretary Chris Grayling caused anger by supporting the new £30bn Crossrail 2 scheme in London and the South East, days after a series of rail projects in Wales, the Midlands and the North were axed or downgraded.
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, who is due to speak at the summit in Leeds, said the gathering shows “the patience of people in the north of England has run out”.
He added: “We are getting organised and demanding the Government keeps all of its promises to people here and delivers a fair funding deal for the north of England.

Image: Andy Burnham: People in the North have put up with sub-standard infrastructure for too long
“We are not against our capital city developing world-class infrastructure but it cannot be at the expense of the north.
“People here have put up with clapped-out trains and congested roads for long enough.”
The issue was put back on the agenda on Tuesday, when former chancellor George Osborne said a “Northern Powerhouse” rail network connecting Liverpool to Hull, a so-called High Speed 3, should be planned for by the Government as it progresses with HS2.
Writing in the Financial Times, he said: “Far be it from me to offer advice to the Prime Minister on how to relaunch her premiership this autumn, but making this big commitment to the North at the Conservative conference in Manchester would not be a bad place to start.”

Image: George Osborne has fought to keep his ‘Northern Powerhouse’ idea alive
A petition set up by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) North think tank, calling for the Government to fund Crossrail for the North, has been signed by more than 70,000 people.
Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake, who will also attend the summit, said: “Transforming rail connections across the North was part of the original plan to create a Northern Powerhouse and was estimated to bring £100bn in economic growth as well as 850,000 new jobs.
“The people of the North are demanding a direct commitment from Government to increase investment in transport and to settle for any less would hold back the potential of the north for decades to come.”
The leaders of Sheffield, Newcastle and Manchester Councils, Liverpool city region metro mayor Steve Rotheram and representatives from a range of business groups will be among the others attending the conference.

Image: The first phase of Crossrail will be completed at the end of 2019
Responding to the criticism, transport minister Paul Maynard said funding had been provided for the development of detailed proposals for transport upgrades which the Government put money into.
He said: “I keep hearing demands for investment in the north but I should point out they come from some of the very same people who we have asked to help develop plans.
“We all want to improve rail in the north and we are all getting on with the work that needs to be done.”

Source: Sky News