North will get its fair share of transport investment, Treasury Minister Liz Truss insists

But in an interview with LBN the Chief Secretary to the Treasury stopped short of backing proposals for a high-speed rail line linking Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Hull. Tony McDonough reports

Liz Truss
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on a visit to Merseyside. Picture by Tony McDonough


Treasury Minister Liz Truss insists investing in transport infrastructure in the North of England was a “big priority” for the Government.

But in an interview with LBN the Chief Secretary to the Treasury stopped short of backing proposals for a high-speed rail line linking Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Hull.

Ms Truss was in Liverpool to meet with members of the local business community and took part in a closed Q&A session in the city centre offices of Deloitte organised by Downtown in Business and Liverpool Conservative Business Forum.

Last week Transport for the North (TfN) was officially launched with ambitious pans for £70bn worth of transport investment into roads and rail in the North over the next 30 years.

However, former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott made an angry exit from the launch event dismissing TfN as a “bloody fraud”, adding: “It was promised to have statutory powers. Now we know, and it’s been confirmed by Government, it will have no powers.

“It can talk to the Treasury along with the strategic bodies but it can’t make a decision and it doesn’t get any money. It’s a bloody fraud.”

Ms Truss rejected this claim and also took an issue with a report out on Wednesday which  from think tank IPPR North which revealed around £4,155 per capita is planned on projects for London, compared to just £1,600 in the North.

The Minister claimed the research only takes into account projects that have already been green-lighted and that overall spending in the North over the next few years will actually be higher.

She said: “I think it is a good idea to invest a significant sum of money in the North of England’s transport and we are looking at more details. It is my understanding that Chris Grayling (the Transport Secretary) is looking at those proposals in detail.

“I want to clarify that we are spending more on the North than the South up to 2021. What has to happen now is to decide on the project to take forward beyond that,

“We are absolutely committed to making sure the North has that connectivity and that is why the Chancellor in the Budget announced there would be that connectivity provided with HS2.”

Liz Truss
First Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss met with business people in Liverpool. Picture by Tony McDonough


And on Lord Prescott’s claims TfN was a fraud, she added: “If you look at Transport for London it has successfully pulled together projects across London and that is exactly what we want to do in the North of England.

“I think getting a sense of what people here want, what project would be most beneficial and how that can be pushed forward is what we need to do.

“This is a matter to be decided by the Transport Secretary and what I am saying is it is absolutely the Government’s ambition to see infrastructure in the North taken forward and that is a big priority for us.”

Ms Truss also acknowledged the huge opportunities for the Port of Liverpool in a post-Brexit world to grab a bigger slice of imported goods coming into the UK from across the world.

Peel Ports’ £400m Liverpool2 container terminal in now on line and is well placed to benefit from increased global trade.

Ms Truss said: “I think Liverpool has a hugely beneficial strategic location. There is clearly a lot of business to be done with the Americas, with the changes in the Panama Canal and going right through to the Far East and there are opportunities to expand that.”

You might also like More from author

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Username field is empty.