Today I am calling on the Government to prioritise spending on infrastructure in the North in the spending review later this year.
This investment is long overdue. The North has been badly neglected. After decades of underinvestment the North continues to be held back and is unable to reach its full potential. The productivity gap between the North and the rest of the country continues to widen.
Alongside my fellow Northern MPs, civic leaders and businesses, I am calling on the Government to increase investment in transport in the North of England, in line with Transport for the North’s Strategic Transport Plan. This includes a commitment from the Government to a £7 billion Northern Infrastructure Pipeline to deliver road and rail schemes that could transform the way people travel and how goods are moved across the North. In addition, leaders are also calling for a long-term commitment to our railways with up to £39 billion for the Northern Powerhouse Rail network.
The dualling of the A64 should be a priority. Dualling the stretch of the A64 between Hopgrove and Barton Hill would transform the economic fortunes of Ryedale and the East Coast and would make a massive difference to drivers using that road for business or leisure purposes. I have been campaigning with my parliamentary colleagues and the A64 Growth Partnership, made up of local businesses, Councils and the Local Enterprise Partnership, to ensure that these improvements are included in the next road investment period from 2020 to 2025. This is a perfect example of why we need more investment in the North.
Investment is also needed on our railways so that, as we look forward to the winter months, we can make sure that the severe disruption that affected rail passengers last year, as a result of delays and cancellations, is not repeated.