Led by leader of the Northern Powerhouse George Osborne, business leaders across the North of England are being urged to lobby the Government to commit to more investment on high speed rail networks – HS3 – in the region.
Former Tatton MP and Chancellor, Mr Osborne launched the “Northern Powerhouse” initiative when in government and called for the commitment in an open letter published in the Financial Times where he said the investment would transform the region’s economy.
Think-tank IPPR North are calling for more business leaders to sign a 70,000+ named petition to urge Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to “commit to reversing the under-investment in northern infrastructure” which says £59bn more has been spent on transport in London and the South East over the past decade than in the North.
Initially building a new line across the Pennines, the proposed new Northern rail network – HS3 – the first stage could cost circa £7bn, improving transport links across the important towns and cities across the North of England, eventually linking up with HS2 and improving connectivity across the whole region.
The government said it was “investing billions of pounds” to “better connect communities” across the north.
The Northern Powerhouse website states that improving transport is at the heart of plans to build a Northern Powerhouse:
“It helps connect our great Northern towns and cities, creates jobs, and leads to faster and better journeys – all making the North a better place to live and work. That’s why we have committed to investing a record £13 billion on transport in the North over this Parliament.”
Work in progress to improve transport and connectivity across the North includes an investment of £150 million for a smart ticketing system for public transport across the North; £2.9bn of strategic road improvements across the North, including improvements to the M60 North West quadrant and the dualling of the A66.