Anger as rail plan put into sidings

The Institute for Public Policy Research North has slammed the Government’s decision to halt the electrification of rail lines in the region.

Its director, Ed Cox, said: “This announcement is troubling. Transport connections and infrastructure must be the foundation on which a prosperous Northern economy is built.”

“The North already loses out substantially when it comes to public investment in its dated, poorly integrated and under-funded transport network. Now it will see projects already too far back in the queue fall further behind, which will hamper the area’s ability to grow and compete.

“Promises of bigger and better mean little to the immediate needs of the North and seeing politicians and bureaucrats trading blame helps nobody. Business leaders in the North tell us they want to see a more radical devolution of powers and budget over transport and infrastructure to create prosperity and re-balance the economy.

“Decisions about Northern transport should be made in the North. We would urge the Government to go further and faster in support of the Transport for the North body so it can shape the region’s destiny and end decades of chronic under-investment in the North’s creaking transport network.”