Crossrail for the North has to be a ‘top priority’, says Metro Mayor candidate Steve Rotheram

MP for Walton was speaking after a report by the IPPR think-tank which suggests London will see £1,500 more in transport spending per person than the North of England. Tony McDonough reports.

Steve Rotheram, left, with Greater Manchester Metro Mayor candidate, Andy Burnham

Labour candidate for Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram says Crossrail for the North has to be top priority in the Chancellor Philip Hammond’s next Budget.

The current MP for Walton was speaking after a report by the IPPR think-tank which suggests London will see £1,500 more in transport spending per person than the North of England over the coming years.

IPPR’s analysis reveals that spend on national infrastructure projects indicated that there is a £1,515 per capita gap in investment between London and the North.

While the cost for all northern transport projects together will be only £6.6bn, the capital’s Crossrail alone will cost £8.3bn from 2015/16 onwards.

The IPPR report suggests that the Treasury should allow for new Northern Infrastructure Bonds and that the Transport for the North body should be given TfL-style powers to invest.

While the high speed rail project HS2 is planned to link the North with London, many Northern political and business leaders believe a Crossrail-style line is more important.

Northern leaders believe a Crossrail for the North should take priority over HS2, pictured

Mr Rotheram said: “It is significant that a respected, independent think-tank like the IPPR has endorsed the importance of transport to the Liverpool city region’s economic prospects.

“Infrastructure investment is key to stimulating the city region’s post-Brexit economy so the Government cannot turn its back on our area whilst it continues to funnel transport spending to London as it risks widening the North-South divide.

“In the Chancellor’s budget in March, he needs to clearly set out investment for Crossrail for the North as the next national transport priority as it is key to rebalancing the UK economy.

“I want to ensure that the 1.5m people in the city region can access apprenticeship and employment opportunities, but we cannot achieve that without the appropriate infrastructure investment and that is what I will be fighting for if I’m elected in May.”

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