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Hammond announces £300m for improved northern HS2 connections

Chancellor Philip Hammond is to announce £400m for northern transport links, including £300m to improve connections to the HS2 route.

Talking to delegates today at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Hammond will outline the funding and other important pieces of information ahead of his Autumn Budget later on this year.

The money will help speed up journey times between cities like Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and York, and will bring up funding for the region to £13bn by 2020.

It comes, however, after a summer of heated debate between the government and northern mayors and transport leaders after Chris Grayling cut three electrification projects and cast doubt on the TransPennine route electrification before then backing Crossrail 2 in London.

“Poor infrastructure can be a barrier to progress. That’s why, as the party of progress, we are investing record amounts to strengthen transport links,” Hammond will say. “This investment will go towards ensuring HS2 infrastructure can link up with future Northern Powerhouse and Midlands rail projects – helping the towns and cities of the North reach their full potential.

“Our economy is not broken: it is fundamentally strong. And while no one suggests a market economy is perfect, it is the best system yet designed for making people steadily better off over time and underpinning strong and sustainable public services for everyone,” he will add.

“As this model comes under renewed assault, we must not be afraid to defend it. The market economy frees people and businesses, encourages them to create, take risks, give ideas a go because they can see the results and benefit from their success.

“It's the profits from such businesses that underpin our savings and our pensions. And the wealth that a strong market economy creates which, in the end, pays for our public services.”

And Transport for the North also welcomed the announcement, arguing that the money will ensure much of the North as possible benefits from this major infrastructure investment. 

"Providing fast, frequent and reliable rail services across the North is vital to the economy of the whole of the United Kingdom," a spokesperson said.

"When planning the Northern Powerhouse Rail programme we have been mindful of the importance both of accommodating future demand and making the most of infrastructure investment that has already been committed, particularly HS2.

"This announcement is a significant step forward in TfN’s plans for the development of Northern Powerhouse Rail. It will enable much-needed transformational rail connections for the north to be delivered cheaper, faster and with less disruption."

The announcement comes the same week that RTM will host the TransCityRail North daytime conference and black tie dinner for the fourth year running, bringing together key transport decision-makers to discuss the latest developments for rail in the region.

It also follows Grayling announcing £5m to upgrade signalling on the TransPennine route last month.

Top Image: Stefan Rousseau PA Wire

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John   02/10/2017 at 23:00

£300m is peanuts.

Andrew Gwilt   03/10/2017 at 03:14

As long as he’s got the money to spend on HS2 then that’s fine by me.

IC2000   04/10/2017 at 11:54

Typical Hammond bluster, talking about spending money on unspecified projects on unspecified routes to improve connections with a railway that hasn't even been built yet!

Melvyn   05/10/2017 at 18:40

So what is the total value of electrification schemes that have been cancelled as you need to reduce £300 million by this total to see true net value !

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