Hammond £300 million Boost to TfN rail projects – But No Northern Powerhouse Rail – Just Yet

The key is ‘link up with future Northern Powerhouse and Midlands rail projects’ which is code – the first part for Northern Powerhouse Rail – for which £300 million would be small change – the second part is also code – and intrigueing.  There is currently no published official plan to link say East-West Rail to Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2 – and I spent several hours at the NIC last week pitching a plan for just that.What announced today is just what TfN asked for, prioritise links to HS2 now whilst the alignments are being finalised. This is clearly the first of several announcements which will culminate in the announcments in the Budget meeting the Chancellors self appointed deadline two years ago for the National Infrastructure Strategy and the CamMKNoX final report.  Clearly it was politic to get the announcement on Northern projects out first before announcing anything on Crossrail 2 and East West Rail in the November Budget. Heading of criticism by Andy Burnham and other northern mayors that the North was coming off second best to London and the SE.

Ahead of his keynote speech to the Tory conference today, the Chancellor unveiled £300million for new rail projects and £100million for roads to boost the Government “Northern Powerhouse” initiative.

He is to use his speech to launch a passionate defence of the free market and savage Labour’s socialist plans for the country as “dangerous and outdated”.

“We are the party of progress,” he will say.

Mr Hammond’s Treasury boost for transport is designed to foster growth in the North of England and rebalance the economy away from the current dominance of London.Ministers believe improved road and rail links in the North will help ensure that the benefits of the new global trade opportunities opened up by Brexit can be spread far beyond the capital.The rail cash is to be used for new links to the proposed HS2 high-speed route with cities across the north, speeding up journey times between Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and York.Mr Hammond promised a further £100million for new road schemes in the North. The Treasury funding will go to 33 major new road schemes including ten in the North East, 13 in the North West and ten in Yorkshire and Humber.Officials say the projects will cut traffic congestion and journey times and improve connections.

Mr Hammond’s Treasury boost for transport is designed to foster growth in the North of England
Mr Hammond said: “Poor infrastructure can be a barrier to progress.”That’s why, as the party of progress, we are investing record amounts to strengthen transport links.”Today I am announcing a further £300 million to future-proof the railway network in the North. This investment will go towards ensuring HS2 infrastructure can link up with future Northern Powerhouse and Midlands rail projects – helping the towns and cities of the North reach their full potential.”Mr Hammond will use his speech to the Tory conference in Manchester today [Monday] to make an impassioned defence of the free-market against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s socialist plan for Britain.The Chancellor will condemn Labour’s blueprint for sweeping nationalisation and state control as a “dangerous and outdated ideology”.

He is expected to tell the Tory faithful: “Our economy is not broken: it is fundamentally strong.

Philip Hammond

Mr Hammond promised a further £100million for new road schemes in the North

“And while no one suggests a market economy is perfect, it is the best system yet designed for making people steadily better off over time and underpinning strong and sustainable public services for everyone.

“As this model comes under renewed assault, we must not be afraid to defend it.

“The market economy frees people and businesses, encourages them to create, take risks, give ideas a go because they can see the results and benefit from their success.

“It’s the profits from such businesses that underpin our savings and our pensions.

“And the wealth that a strong market economy creates which, in the end, pays for our public services.”