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The importance of investing in the Northern Powerhouse to drive economic growth has been recognised in the Chancellor’s autumn budget, with increased funding announced for infrastructure across the North.
As announced in October 2017, £300 million will go towards ensuring High Speed 2 (HS2) infrastructure can accommodate future Northern Powerhouse Rail and Midlands Connect services. This will enable faster services between Liverpool and Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and York (as well as ensuring that Leicester and other Midlands locations are connected to HS2). It will also enable future Northern Powerhouse Rail services between Liverpool and Leeds to travel via Manchester Piccadilly station.
We will be working closely with HS2 Ltd, the Department for Transport and Network Rail to ensure that these connections between HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail are planned to accommodate the frequency of train services which will be needed to support transformational economic growth.
The Chancellor also announced vital funding to replace the ageing trains on the Tyne & Wear Metro as well as a Transforming Cities Fund to address weaknesses in city transport systems in order to raise productivity and spread prosperity. Whilst Transport for the North’s remit is planning the pan-Northern infrastructure developments which will drive economic growth, we welcome these commitments for the intra-urban transport systems which will need to work with our planned regional priorities to support the Northern Powerhouse.
Ensuring infrastructure investments drive sustainable economic growth is at the very heart of Transport for the North’s long-term plans. We therefore welcome the Chancellor’s support for Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles, with a commitment to the wider roll-out of charging infrastructure and continued support for the Plug-In Car Grant.
We were also pleased to learn that the Chancellor has requested that the National Infrastructure Commission carry out a study on the future of freight. Transport for the North has worked closely with partners across the region, both transport authorities and freight and logistics operators, to carry out an enhanced analysis of future freight and logistics needs in the North of England. We look forward to sharing this expertise with the National Infrastructure Commission as part of their study.
The Chancellor has confirmed that the Infrastructure and Projects Authority will publish an update to the National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline in December 2017, which will set out a 10 year projection of public and private investment in infrastructure of around £600 billion. We look forward to seeing continued commitment to the vital infrastructure investment which will drive the Northern Powerhouse within this report and future updates, which we hope will reflect the long term Investment Programme that we will be setting out in our Strategic Transport Plan.