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Chancellor: 'We are committed to the Northern Powerhouse'

Philiphammond
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The chancellor has announced a £300 million boost for the North’s railway network and says the government is ‘committed’ to the Northern Powerhouse

In a speech at the Conservative Party Conference yesterday (2 October), Philip Hammond added that he wanted to connect the cities both in the North and in the Midlands.

‘We are committed as a government to the Northern Powerhouse project – to join the great cities of the north into a single, connected market with a population to rival London’s,’ said Hammond. ‘And to the Midlands engine, to do the same.’

He added: ‘So today, I’m announcing a further £300 million to future-proof the railway network in the North – ensuring HS2 infrastructure can link up with future Northern Powerhouse and Midlands rail projects, while keeping open all options for services through Manchester Piccadilly.’

The chancellor said that ensuring the regional economies were ‘firing on all cylinders’ would ‘help to close the gap in living standards and raise our national performance’.

As part of the government boost to the Northern Powerhouse, the Treasury has also pledged a further £100 million towards local road schemes in the North.

Elsewhere in his speech, the chancellor acknowledged the ‘uncertainty of Brexit negotiations’, and added that this was ‘one of the most challenging tasks’ ever to be undertaken by a British government in peacetime.

He said that the UK must navigate the ‘difficult terrain of EU negotiations to ensure we arrive in good order at fertile plains at the other side’.

Comment

Lord Adonis, chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission
’Yesterday’s funding is a welcome boost for rail connections across the North of England, helping to ensure we can make the most of the economic benefits that HS2 will bring and improving travel times for passengers.

’It is essential we improve transport across the North to secure economic growth for the region, and that’s why we also want to see real progress on HS3, which would do even more to improve connections between our great Northern cities.’

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Talking of 'navigating difficult terrain', the Chancellor's commitment to 'keeping open all options for services through Manchester Piccadilly' is presumably a reference to the need to double from two to four tracks the overcrowded through lines westwards from Piccadilly through Oxford Road station on the southern fringe of the city centre, and this will require delicate urban surgery in a densely built-up area of the city.

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