Calling for £120bn for northern roads and rail

From the moment I took my seat in Parliament I have been campaigning for improved investment in northern transport. The gap between what is spent in the North compared to the South is wholly unacceptable.

This is why, in April, I secured the support of a group of over eighty Parliamentarians to sign a letter to the Chancellor about what is needed in terms of commitment to the full Transport for the North Strategic Plan. In the letter we call on the Chancellor to commit a total of £120bn by 2050 to include strategic transport schemes as well as local transport investment. We believe that this investment could create 850,000 jobs and result in a total of £100bn in economic growth.

I am Co-Chair of the Northern Powerhouse All-Party Parliamentary Group which is made up of Conservative and Labour MPs, Peers and business and civic leaders who have joined together to enable the North of England to speak with one voice and to ensure the region increases its contribution to the UK economy. 

As well as faster journey times, enhanced capacity and greater frequency, NPR would provide opportunities for our young people to secure the skilled jobs we need to drive productivity and link up the great cities of the North to stimulate economic growth. It is vital that NPR is delivered to the North alongside HS2, to create a high-speed network for the whole of the country and open up labour markets that are currently not accessible for young people across the North today. With HS2 and NPR it is not a case of either/or – we need both.

The Chancellor has already committed himself to the case for the economics behind the project, which has been government policy for five years since the Northern Powerhouse was first adopted.

Elsewhere on our roads, I am continuing to fight for a dual carriageway on the A64 and for safety improvements at Welburn and Crambeck and also in Rillington – all of which are taking longer than I would have liked. Again in ApriI, I met the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling MP, to ask him to intervene after Highways England recently warned me that it might be necessary to build additional bridges to cope with the extra traffic coming on to the A64 and this would significantly increase the cost of the project. The matter is currently with his Department for review. There is a strong economic case for dualling and it would also help ease the serious bottlenecks on the A64 when volumes of traffic are high and allow businesses and tourists to travel to and from the East Coast without encountering serious delays. We badly need this dual carriageway and I will do everything I can to make it happen.

I am pleased to hear that new pedestrian refuges at Welburn and Crambeck on the A64 are now definitely to go ahead after Highways England confirmed that funding is now in place. I have been campaigning for these changes alongside Ryedale Councillor Caroline Goodrick and local residents. I have been told that design for the improvements will be produced later this year. Once this has been completed construction work can start.

Highways England has also confirmed that reduced speed limits are amongst a package of measures which will be introduced in Rillington later this year to encourage drivers to drive more slowly through the village. This is another campaign I have been working on with Councillor Janet Sanderson and local residents, Highways England says the funding is now in place to design and develop the schemes and start delivery during this financial year.