'Northern connectivity' is one of the focuses of the new National Infrastructure Commission, which was launched today as the Chancellor pledges £100billion of spending.
George Osborne insisted better infrastructure is vital to improve the lives of British people as he committed to £100billion of spending in this Parliament for new roads, rail, flood defences and other vital projects. This includes full funding for the £15billion Roads Investment Strategy, which includes the dualling of the A1 in north Northumberland.
Launching the new National Infrastructure Commission, led by former Cabinet minister Lord Adonis, the Chancellor set out plans to ‘get Britain building’, saying that infrastructure will be at the heart of next month’s Spending Review.
The commission will produce a report at the start of each five-year Parliament, offering recommendations for priority infrastructure projects.
Its initial focus will be in three key areas. These are northern connectivity, particularly identifying priorities for future investment in the North’s strategic transport infrastructure to improve connectivity between cities, especially east-west across the Pennines; London’s transport system, particularly reviewing strategic options and identifying priorities for future investment in large scale transport improvements – on road, rail and underground – including Crossrail 2; energy, particularly exploring how the UK can better balance supply and demand, aiming for an energy market where prices are reflective of costs to the overall system.
Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, James Wharton, said: "This £100billion commitment for infrastructure spending is the biggest, boldest and most exciting plan we have seen in generations and will help build the Northern Powerhouse.
"I'm pleased one of the key focuses of the Infrastructure Commission will be on northern connectivity and improving transport links between cities which will create jobs, boost growth, and help the business community make their ambitions a reality."