The importance of Northern Powerhouse Rail - Open Letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer
Open Letter to the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer.
More than 80 Northern MPs and Peers have written to the Chancellor urging huge investment in Northern transport to deliver much needed jobs, investment and growth.
The cross-party letter, put together by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, recommends the government commit to £100bn of transport spending in the North by 2050 for major strategic road and rail projects.
One of these major projects, Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR), could create “economic revolutions”, the letter states, and must be delivered at the same time as HS2 arrives in Leeds and Manchester – scheduled to be 2032 – to realise its full impact.
The signatories, signed by 69 MPs led by Northern Powerhouse All Party Parliamentary Group Chairs Kevin Hollinrake MP, John Stevenson MP, Caroline Flint MP and Julie Elliott MP, and 15 Peers, urge the government to commit to the recommendations of the National Infrastructure Commission; to spend an initial £24bn on NPR.
The letter comes as Transport Secretary Chris Grayling visits Leeds Bradford Airport amid criticism of his department around the handling of the recent timetabling crisis.
A report from the Northern Powerhouse Partnership found that almost one million hours of productivity was lost to Northern businesses over the six-week period when delays and cancellations were at their height, at a cost of well in excess of £38m.
Advocating the inclusion of NPR funding and wider transport investment in this Autumn Budget, the letter states: “NPR has the potential to increase capacity and reduce journey times but also to greatly enhance transport links that deliver transformational economic growth for our towns and cities.”
It also proposes delivering NPR and Crossrail 2 at the same time to provide a major boost to the UK economy.
Kevin Hollinrake, Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton, said: “This government has embraced the economic principles of the Northern Powerhouse to address the decades of under-investment in the North.
“We are now at a critical point – Northern Powerhouse Rail has the potential not simply to improve rail travel for commuters and families but to deliver economic growth right across the North, not simply in the core cities.
“Bringing forward the delivery date of NPR to the same time as HS2 arrives in the North could see the coming generation enjoy further education and job opportunities currently beyond young people today, and stimulate significant growth for the whole of the UK.”
Caroline Flint, Labour MP for Don Valley, added: “We have seen the huge impact the recent timetable fiasco has had on the Northern Powerhouse – commuters unable to get to work, businesses losing out and childcare arrangements being disrupted.
“It is simply not good enough and needs urgent action to address the North’s outdated transport network. Investing up to £100bn in improving roads and rail is a must-have for the people of the North.”
Lord Jim O’Neill, Vice-Chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “As someone attracted to spend some time as a Minister because of the focus on the Northern Powerhouse, and being involved in the setting up of Transport for the North, getting a true state-of-the-art transport network is absolutely key.
“Affordable and quick trains connecting all key parts of the Powerhouse, are vital to delivering on the goal of raising productivity both across the North, and with it, the country as a whole.”
Securing our core cities, key cities and towns digital future: let’s build full fibre once and for all. Open Letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer
Northern Leaders warn against inefficient investment in full fibre networks
Northern Powerhouse leaders have warned that the North faces the prospect of a digital and economic divide caused by an uncoordinated and inefficient rollout of full fibre across the UK.
The Northern Powerhouse Partnership, who organised the letter, have called on government, as part of their recent Next Steps for the Northern Powerhouse report, to deliver full fibre to the premises (FTTP) to every business and home in the top 30 Northern towns and cities by 2025.
The report claimed that 50% full fibre coverage across the Northern Powerhouse would be worth £26.2bn to the economy, rising to £47.2bn with 90% coverage. At 90% coverage, additional GVA ranges from £122.4m in Halifax to £5.2bn in Leeds.
In brief, the letter calls for:
- Full fibre providers to build out towns and cities in full and at pace, ensuring coverage to as many premises as possible by 2025;
- Full fibre providers to prioritise efficient full fibre rollout across whole towns and cities, recognising the urgent need for every area of the UK to have access to full fibre and the crucial role a vibrant multi-player market will play;
- Government and Ofcom to create a regulatory framework that takes a proactive approach to monitoring, investigating and cracking down on anti-competitive behaviour that undermines efficient investment and threatens competition.
Devolving our railways, learning the lessons from a summer of rail chaos
Report from the Northern Powerhouse Partnership
Next Steps for the Northern Powerhouse
Next steps for the Northern Powerhouse launched in Leeds by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership – 26th February 2019
Open Letter to The Chancellor - 29th April 2019
Northern Parliamentarians call on the Chancellor to commit to transport investment in the North
- Powerful group of MPs welcome the Chancellor’s commitment in the Spring Statement to Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) and to examining the £39bn business case submitted by Transport for the North;
- A total of £120bn is needed by 2050 to include strategic transport schemes as well as local transport investment;
- NPR should be 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;
- Commitment to NPR has to be part of a wider package of infrastructure to deliver a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rebalance the economy and narrow the North-South divide.
On Monday (29thApril), a group of over eighty Parliamentarians will send a letter to the Chancellor to start the debate about what is needed in terms of commitment to the full Transport for the North Strategic Plan and devolved transport budgets to city and metro regions, as recommended by the National Infrastructure Commission.
The letter has been prepared at the request of the Co-Chairs of the Northern Powerhouse All-Party Parliamentary Group (NP APPG). The NP APPG is made up of Conservative and Labour MPs, Peers and business and civic leaders who have joined together to allow the North of England to speak with one voice and increase the contribution the region makes to the UK economy.
Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton and co-chair of the NP APPG 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.”
Julie Elliott, MP for Sunderland Central and co-chair of the NP APPG said: “The North East is a vital part of the Northern Powerhouse, and we need to ensure that cities like Sunderland benefit to unlock the economic opportunities of being better connected to Leeds or Liverpool, as well as better transport for commuting across and within the North East itself. In the Comprehensive Spending Review, we need to see the North of England getting the full amount we need – and a cross party consensus to last us the thirty years it will still take to close the North – South divide.”
Henri Murison, Director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership said: “The first down payment we need on the overall long-term need of £120 billion for major Northern Powerhouse specific transport and city region schemes is £39 billion for Northern Powerhouse Rail. Last week the Chancellor committed himself to the case for the economics behind the project – which have consistently been government policy now for the almost five years since the Northern Powerhouse was first adopted. 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.”
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