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Budget 2012: Osborne OK’s Northern Hub acceleration

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The Chancellor George Osborne has announced plans to speed up Network Rail’s Northern Hub electrification and upgrade programme.

The £560 million programme aims to improve services in the north of England with a programme of work running from 2014 to 2015.

Delivering his Budget today (21 March), Osborne said he would extend the hub, adding to the electrification of the Transpennine rail route, by upgrading the Hope Valley line between Manchester and Sheffield, improving the Manchester to Preston and Blackpool and Manchester to Bradford lines.

‘For years, transport investment in the North of England was neglected,’ Osborne said.

‘We are working with our great cities to devolve decision-making powers – and we are striking a ground-breaking deal with Manchester to support £1.2 billion in growth-enhancing infrastructure.’

The Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) welcomed the announcement about the Northern Hub programme as well as the development of ultra-fast broadband over the next ten years.

ACE chief executive, Nelson Ogunshakin said: ‘The return to the economy of these schemes could prove crucial as the government shows its commitment to get the UK growing.

‘It has listened to industry and recognises that infrastructure is a key driver of growth and employment. We must now see these announcements translate into delivery on the ground.’

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