HS2

29.10.18

Budget: Hammond announces £37m for NPR and £20m for EWR

The Chancellor Phillip Hammond has today announced additional funding for the Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) and East-West Rail (EWR) projects.

NPR, which will connect cities across the north of England, will receive £37m; and the EWR project will receive £20m to push forward its central section between Winslow, Milton Keynes and Bedford.

Earlier this month, the boss of HS2 Phase 2b Paul Griffiths spoke exclusively to RTM to reveal that the one year set-back for the high speed rail link’s legislation was so that NPR could play an “essential” role in the bill.

He guaranteed that the delay will ensure NPR forms a key part of HS2, which is something that the leaders across the industry have been campaigning for. “It’s making the best use of the HS2 asset so that that can be used wherever possible to support NPR,” Griffiths explained.

Phase one of the EWR between Oxford and Bicester has already completed, with phase two to begin construction by 2019.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said EWR will “transform the journeys in one of Europe’s most vibrant economic regions,” providing passengers and businesses with a transport system that unlocks economic opportunity and drives forward new housing and jobs.

However, just last week, the Crossrail project received a £350m government loan after further delays to the project, and a failure to report said delays, prompted a Financial Conduct Authority investigation.

Many will welcome this extra funding for NPR, but in comparison to the Crossrail funding, may come as a bittersweet announcement.

Top image: Chris J Ratcliffe via PA Wire/PA Images 

 

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