Sheffield City Region mayor slams plans to cut transport budget

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Political and transport chiefs have united to condemn plans to cut the budget for Transport for the North.

Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis said plans to cut TfN’s internal budget by 40 per cent suggested ministers had ‘no faith’ in its mission and their commitment to devolution was only ’skin deep’.

The DfT plans to cut core funding from £10m to £6m and claw back £5m from last year.

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The Funding Settlement also ended TfN’s role in smart ticketing, although the Department said it would continue to look for ways to roll out the program.

Sheffield City Region Mayor, Dan JarvisSheffield City Region Mayor, Dan Jarvis
Sheffield City Region Mayor, Dan Jarvis

The settlement includes £67m to continue to develop the business case for Northern Powerhouse Rail, but Mr Jarvis said uncertainty over the future of HS2’s eastern route, set to be integrated with NPR, had cast parts of the project in doubt.

He added: “The government’s decision to cut the internal budget for Transport for the North by massive 40 per cent is another serious blow to the credibility of their levelling up agenda.

“The government also ended TfN’s role in Integrated and Smart Ticketing, a key part of the scandalously overdue effort to drag our regional railways into the 21st century.

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“We’re relieved it has continued funding to develop Northern Powerhouse Rail, but this move puts in doubt whether a critical part of the modernisation we need will be delivered according to Northern priorities – or at all.”

Iain Craven, finance director at Transport for the North, said: “TfN’s Board has clearly indicated its disappointment and concern that, at a time when the Government’s levelling up agenda is needed most, funding is being cut, putting northern investment and jobs at risk.

“It falls substantially short of what we outlined the North would need to level-up infrastructure and accelerate benefits to the region. There is a real worry that this signals a diminishing ambition for the North, rather than pump-priming the region’s economic recovery.

“Establishing Transport for the North was a symbolic moment for devolving power to Northern leaders, one that fully supports the levelling-up agenda. Our members have clearly indicated the ambition that, over time, TfN should have a greater role and more budget oversight, but the opposite is proposed.

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“Further to the discussion at today’s board, we would strongly urge that this decision is reviewed.”

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