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