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North of England businesses call for increase in transport spending ahead of Autumn Statement

16 November 2016  •  Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review

Northern businesses are calling on Government to commit to an increase in transport funding and devolve Northern transport powers ahead of next week’s Autumn Statement.

North of England businesses call for increase in transport spending ahead of Autumn Statement

A number of businesses in the north of England have backed an Addleshaw Goddard, Grant Thornton and Atkins produced report entitled Unlocking Growth in the North, which provides outcomes following a series of events over the last year, involving over 100 organisations, to discuss how to boost growth in the North and rebalance the UK economy.

Report calls for accelerated devolution of powers for investment in transport infrastructure

The report, which is backed by several leading businesses across the North including, Siemens UK, Hitachi Rail Europe and Amey, calls for the full and accelerated devolution of powers matched with the funding commitments required to help transport commissioners make the decisions for transport infrastructure in the North.

This includes improvements to Northern roads, rail and ticketing systems, as well as better freight connections and East-West links. The report also explores long-term pathways for private investment in transport infrastructure.

Furthermore, the report also states that spending commitments in the North per head should exceed those of London over the next decade. Currently, Government spending on transport is more than six times greater per head in London and the South-East than in the North.

“We’re calling on the Government to use this Autumn Statement to revolutionise Northern transport”

Paul Hirst, Partner, Addleshaw Goddard, said: “Like the many organisations involved in producing this report, the Northern Powerhouse recognises this region’s vast potential. For too long, a lack of powers and chronic under-funding in transport have held the North back. In post-Brexit Britain this needs to change.

“That’s why we’re calling on the Government to use this Autumn Statement to revolutionise Northern transport by swiftly devolving statutory powers and injecting the necessary funding to unlock growth in the North.”

Commenting on the report, Justin Kelly, Director, Siemens UK, said: “Continued investment in transport connectivity, capacity and digitalisation is key to Siemens, which is a major employer across the North of England with eight major facilities in the region, employing over 6,000 people. A better-connected North with integrated and coordinated rail services will lead to clear economic benefits across the region.”

Nick Hughes, Director at Hitachi Rail Europe, added: “We have made substantial investments into the Northern Powerhouse because we believe it has a first rate business proposition for our global manufacturing business. Hitachi now sits at the heart of a high skilled, knowledge led North of England. It is clear that a better connected and integrated North will drive significant additional economic gains.”

Unlocking Growth in the North report can be downloaded here.

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