Devolve £15 billion to the north, says new transport report

First speech on High Speed Rail for new Transport Minister Baroness Susan Kramer MP at industry seminar
First speech on High Speed Rail for new Transport Minister Baroness Susan Kramer MP at industry seminar
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Billions of pounds should be devolved to the north - including Sheffield - to revitalise its economy and transport network, according to a report published today.

Think tank IPPR says Chancellor George Osborne should use this month’s budget - the last this Parliament - to give a £15 billion package to local authorities.

The money would be used to fund road and rail improvements between Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Newcastle.

Ed Cox, director of IPPR North, said: “What we now need to see is the warm words on northern growth translated into firm commitments to make this vision for a modern transport network a reality.”

The IPPR report claims the amount spent on transport infrastructure per person in London totalled £3,095. In Yorkshire it is just £395.

Today’s document is separate to another report which northern leaders are working on to bring forward more detailed investment proposals for the north.

That report, drawn up by the Transport for the North body, was due to be presented to the Chancellor this week.

But officials have been told to rewrite the major transport plan as council leaders felt it was too vague at identifying particular transport schemes and when they would be brought to fruition.

They also want firm funding earmarked.

Liberal Democrat transport Baroness Susan Kramer, in Sheffield yesterday, said there had been ‘detailed discussion and debate’ about the plan.

Of IPPR’s report, Baroness Kramer said local leaders knew best the projects that would bring in jobs and businesses.

But she added: “I can’t think it makes any sense for us in London to make any decisions until we are informed by the Transport for the North report.”

The report and the budget, to be announced on March 18, should ‘coincide’, she added.

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