UK News Metro mayors to get £7bn in transport funding from Treasury to improve transport links outside London

03:30  23 october  2021
03:30  23 october  2021 Source:   msn.com

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Rishi Sunak will give metro mayors nearly £7bn in transport funding in a bid to improve transport links outside of London.

The Treasury has announced the investment will be given to devolved areas including Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire and the West Midlands for projects such as tram upgrades and London-style improvements in infrastructure and services in infrastructure, fares and services.

The announcement comes after Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham ask for £1bn of transport funding from the Government after it invited submissions to its “levelling up” strategy.

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Responding the news, Mr Burnham said: “This is an important first step towards a London-style public transport system for Greater Manchester and we welcome this announcement from the Chancellor. We believe it shows the Government is listening to the case that Greater Manchester is making.

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“As welcome as it is, infrastructure investment alone will not make levelling up feel real to the people of Greater Manchester. That will only happen when the frequency and coverage of bus services are increased and fares are lowered to London levels.

“So we are now hopeful that the Government will soon build on this foundation and match this allocation with revenue funding to make our Bee Network vision a reality.”

Under Mr Burnham’s London-style Bee Network, buses will be brought back into public control, making it the first area outside the capital to have a regulated bus system.

The Treasury has confirmed Greater Manchester will receive £1.07 billion in next week’s budget and spending review.

The announcement, which signals a vote of confidence from the government in the devolution agenda, will also see the West Midlands receive £1.05 billion in funding.

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Smaller metro areas will also benefit, with £830m given to West Yorkshire, £710m to Liverpool City Region, £570m for South Yorkshire, £540m in the West of England and £310m in Tees Valley.

Andy Street, the Conservative mayor for the West Midlands, welcomed the announcement.

He said: “It is the largest single transport sum we have ever received, and I know the team cannot wait to press on and start getting diggers in the ground on some truly game-changing schemes.

“From more metro lines and train stations, to new bus routes and electric vehicle charging points, this cash will help us to continue to build a clean, green transport network that connects communities and tackles the climate emergency.”

Of the £7bn – £5.7bn will cover transport settlements for the regions, while £1.2bn of new funding will go towards transforming bus services to fasten journey times, make fares more competitive and increase the number of services.

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Great cities need great transport and that it why we’re investing billions to improve connections in our city regions as we level up opportunities across the country.

“There is no reason why somebody working in the North and Midlands should have to wait several times longer for their bus or train to arrive in the morning compared to a commuter in the capital.”

Northern Powerhouse Partnership director Henri Murison said: “Investment in trams in South Yorkshire and Greater Manchester, as well as Merseyrail to extend the network there, is of course welcome.

“I’m pleased to see the funding for a London-style bus network in Greater Manchester. Investment in bus service and trams is of course welcome. However, it will not create the Northern Powerhouse of cities across the Pennines – the same way as London is for people across the South East and home counties.

“The Integrated Rail Plan needs to reflect the longstanding personal ambition of the Prime Minister to deliver Northern Powerhouse Rail in full, with a station in Bradford, and Leeds to Sheffield as the first phase of the eastern leg of HS2.

“Otherwise we here in the North will be getting levelled down, not levelled up.”

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