Leaders from across the North of England have called on the Government to commit to a Northern Budget in order to deliver a boost to the region’s economic fortunes.
The call, which is backed by members of Transport for the North’s Board, who represent more than 15 million people across the North, asks the new Government to deliver on commitments previously promised as part of the Northern Powerhouse agenda.
It comes just days after the Chancellor announced a fast-tracked spending round for Government departments for the next year.
Northern leaders are calling for commitment to a £7bn Northern Infrastructure Pipeline – a list of shovel-ready road and rail projects to be delivered by the mid-2020s, commitment to build the full £39bn Northern Powerhouse Rail network by 2040 and commitment to £1bn for Transport for the North over the next three years to deliver on its vision.
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.
“These are the minimum requirements needed to overturn the under-investment, under different Governments, stretching back decades. It’ll ensure the North becomes greater than the sum of its parts and will get the UK firing on all cylinders.
“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.”