William Eichler 15 August 2019

Council chiefs call for billions to fix North’s ‘creaking infrastructure’

Council chiefs call for billions to fix North’s ‘creaking infrastructure’ image

Leaders from across the North have today called on the Government to commit to multi-billion pound infrastructure pledges that would boost the region’s economic fortunes.

The call, which is backed by Transport for the North’s Board, a group which represents more than 15 million people, asks Whitehall to deliver on previous commitments promised as part of the Northern Powerhouse agenda.

It urges the delivery of a ‘Northern Budget’ which would include a £7bn Northern Infrastructure Pipeline, featuring road and rail projects which could commence in the next five years.

The budget also includes a call for a commitment to build the £39bn Northern Powerhouse Rail network by 2040 and a request for a £1bn funding boost for Transport for the North over the next three years.

Transport for the North’s call follows a pledge by the prime minister to turbo-charge infrastructure by delivering a new high-speed rail line between Manchester and Leeds.

Mr Johnson also said on the campaign trail that Transport for the North were ‘making a very, very good case here for £39bn investment in east-west connections from Liverpool to Manchester, Bradford, Leeds.’

‘The North is now at the top of the national political agenda, with promises to balance out the UK’s economy and unleash our potential by better connecting our towns and cities,’ said Barry White, chief executive of Transport for the North.

‘We now need a “Northern Budget” to make both the shovel-ready projects and the ambitious longer-term programmes like Northern Powerhouse Rail a reality.’

Closing the gap between the North and the South is ‘essential’ for enabling the UK to compete on the global stage. However, according to Mr White, the North is ‘constrained by creaking infrastructure’.

Referring to the ‘Northern Budget’, Mr White added: ‘These are the minimum requirements needed to overturn the underinvestment, under different Governments, stretching back decades. It’ll ensure the North becomes greater than the sum of its parts and will get the UK firing on all cylinders.’

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, commented: ‘Government may look different, but our ‘asks’ are not. We’re consistent and focussed in our plan for what infrastructure the North needs to unlock its full potential, not just for its own benefit, but for the whole UK. A “Northern Budget” would be the ultimate demonstration of commitment.’

The call for more investment in Northern infrastructure comes days after the Chancellor announced a fast-tracked spending round for Government departments for the next year.

‘Whilst the Government is planning for a one-year spending round for its departments against a Brexit backdrop, there is no reason why we can’t see real commitment and recognition of the ambitious pipeline of infrastructure investments the North so badly needs,’ Barry White said.

‘We need to urgently address decades of under-investment in infrastructure in the North which is why we are calling for a “Northern Budget” to help us rebalance the UK economy and deliver for our communities,’ said Cllr Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport lead.

‘A modern, reliable, quick transport system must be the cornerstone of the economic transformation we and the country need to see in the North.’

In response to the call, a spokesperson for the Treasury said the Government was committed to boosting the North by levelling up the regions, through Northern Powerhouse Rail, giving local leaders greater powers, and investing £3.6bn in towns across England.

They added that Whitehall was already investing over £13bn in improving transport in the North.

Fair funding delay image

Fair funding delay

The delay to the fair funding review can only add to anxiety over the future of local government, says Mark Whitehead
Highways jobs

Senior Traffic Engineer

East Riding of Yorkshire Council
£32,029 - £34,788 per annum
Currently seeking an enthusiastic and experienced individual to manage our Traffic Team. East Riding of Yorkshire
Recuriter: East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Youth and Community Based Commissioner- Colchester and Tendring

Essex County Council
£18117 - £19106.0 per month
Annual Salary JNC SCP 3 - Unqualified £18,117JNC SCP 6 - Qualified £19,106 We are currently seeking a Youth and Community Based Commissioner to suppo England, Essex, Colchester
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Networks Technician

Essex County Council
£24001.0 - £28280 per annum
Technology Services is focused on ensuring current and future investment in technology to maximise the opportunities to support ECC from a technology England, Essex, Basildon
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Youth Worker x7

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£18,795 - £19,945 per annum
Looking for a Youth Worker who can meet the needs and aspirations of young people and deliver high quality Youth Work. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Customer Specialist

Essex County Council
£20001.0 - £22220.0 per annum
Essex County Council (ECC) are currently recruiting for a Customer specialist within the Technical Processing and Optimisation Team. The Team is respo England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

This issue of Local Government News explores how councils can tackle modern slavery and trafficking in their supply chains, finds out more about Cambridge's first cohousing scheme and the launch of a new project to build a shared service pattern library for local government.

This issue also contains a special focus on children's services and how councils are protecting children following local safeguarding children boards being abolished.

Register for your free magazine