Busi­ness chiefs de­mand back­ing for rail cam­paign


THE re­gion’s se­nior busi­ness lead­ers have called on the gov­ern­ment to give its back­int to a ma­jor cam­paign for Cross­rail for the North.

The North­ern Pow­er­house Part­ner­ship, which is chaired by for­mer Chan­cel­lor Ge­orge Os­borne, is calling on the gov­ern­ment to show ‘its con­tin­ued com­mit­ment to North­ern Pow­er­house Rail.’

Fifty busi­ness and civic lead­ers from across the north of Eng­land signed a let­ter to the gov­ern­ment on Thurs­day morn­ing de­mand­ing an in­crease in trans­port spend­ing.

Among the sig­na­to­ries are Steve Gilling­ham, di­rec­tor for the North, Mace, Dave New­ton, di­rec­tor, ARUP; Chris Oglesby, CEO, Brunt­wood; Col­lette Roche, act­ing CEO, Manch­ester Air­port; John Joyce, man­ag­ing part­ner, Ad­dle­shaw God­dard; Andy Koss, CEO, Drax Power and Clive Memmott, CEO of Greater Manch­ester Cham­ber of Com­merce.

The let­ter sent to Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May and Chan­cel­lor Philip Ham­momd by the Part­ner­ship, states: “We are calling on the gov­ern­ment to show its con­tin­ued com­mit­ment to Cross­rail for the North in the Au­tumn Bud­get, along­side a step change in­vest­ment in the wider road and rail cor­ri­dors which link the key eco­nomic as­sets of the North.

“This cru­cial, panNorth­ern in­fra­struc­ture of Cross­rail for the North, the North­ern Pow­er­house’s Rail­way, would sig­nif­i­cantly cut jour­ney times, for ex­am­ple pro­vid­ing a no more than 30-minute com­mute be­tween Leeds and Manch­ester and less than 60 min­utes be­tween Leeds and New­cas­tle, and have a dra­matic im­pact on the UK econ­omy.”

An in­de­pen­dent study by think tank the In­sti­tute of Pub­lic Policy Research (IPPR) North in Fe­bru­ary found that £1,943 is spent per head in Lon­don on cur­rent or planned trans­port in­fra­struc­ture projects, com­pared to an av­er­age of just £427 in the North.

The re­port’s au­thor Grace Blake­ley said at the time: “It cur­rently takes longer to travel by train from Liver­pool to Hull than from Lon­don to Paris.

“Build­ing bet­ter links be­tween the North’s cities will boost the na­tion’s econ­omy, driv­ing up pro­duc­tiv­ity.”

For­mer chan­cel­lor Ge­orge Os­borne is chair­man of the North­ern Pow­er­house Part­ner­ship

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