John Prescott on Twitter has claimed credit for the Norther Powerhouse
With some justification – here is is in the Mirror in 2013
on Friday, Liverpool and Hull councils met to discuss how to get the Northern Way back on track.
This could be done by the £100million electrification of the Hull to Liverpool trans-Pennine railway line, the introduction of a rail freight gauge container improvement route and better Pennine road connections from East to West.
Hull and the Humber ports are responsible for over one third of UK port traffic and handle more freight than any other port complex.
The Northern Way could become a massive trading corridor, creating tens of thousands more jobs and establishing a powerful northern region capable of standing on its own two feet.
But instead of boosting this vital East to West link, we’re committing £50billion to build a high-speed railway line from North to South, with the first stage only going from London to Birmingham. This £50billion includes a contingency fund of £6billion, which is being reviewed by HS2’s new boss David Higgins.
So why not factor the Northern Way into the HS2 plans? Instead of the North waiting a decade for work to start, we could begin improving our East-West route now. We could pay for it by transferring £2billion from that contingency fund.
This would improve economic growth in the North, help to rebalance the UK economy and strengthen HS2’s case.
This week the Chancellor should give a commitment in his Autumn Statement to a truly integrated northern transport system that not only goes from North to South but also East to West.
And if £2billion was given to help build the Northern Way, I’ll drop my objections and back HS2.
As we have said here before, the East West Arc/MKSM, The Northern Way and the Thames Gateway have all been scrapped and then revived by this government in different forms.