HS2

29.04.19

MPs demand £39bn NPR commitment from government

A group of 80 MPs have written to chancellor Philip Hammond urging the government to commit to a £39bn down payment for Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR), and deliver the flagship project alongside HS2.

Hammond last week said that the initial business case for NPR, submitted by TfN, will be examined and he pledged that fixing Britain’s chronic productivity problems will be the priority focus in the upcoming Spending Review.

The Northern Powerhouse All-Party Parliamentary Group has welcomed the chancellor’s commitment to NPR, and said that the project could create “economic revolutions” if delivered alongside HS2.

The cross-party letter recommends the government commit to a total of £100bn of transport spending in the north by 2050 for major road and rail projects, alongside a wider package of infrastructure to rebalance the economy.

The northern MPs want TfN’s strategic transport plan delivered, with financial commitment from the government, and they also expressed their desire for transport budgets to be fully devolved to city and metro mayors.

Chair of the parliamentary group, Kevin Hollinrake MP, said: “As well as faster journey times, enhanced capacity and greater frequency, NPR would provide opportunities for our young people to secure the skilled jobs we need to drive productivity and link up the great cities of the north to stimulate economic growth.

“It is vital that NPR is delivered to the north alongside HS2, to create a high-speed network for the whole of the country and open up labour markets that are currently not accessible for young people across the north today. With HS2 and NPR it is not a case of either/or – we need both.”

The letter states that NPR must be delivered at the same time as HS2 arrives in Leeds and Manchester, which is scheduled to be 2032, in order to realise its full impact.

Henri Murison, the director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, commented: “The first downpayment we need on the overall long-term need of £120bn for major Northern Powerhouse specific transport and city region schemes, is £39bn for Northern Powerhouse Rail.

“Business and civic leaders stand firmly behind our parliamentarians on a cross party basis making the case for the key investment that the north needs, to grow our economy and close the north-south divide.”

Image credit - Danielrao

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