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25/10/2021

Budget to feature nearly £7bn for local transport

Words: Laura Edgar
Darlington station / Ann in the UK, Shutterstock_784453714

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to announce £6.9 billion for local transport in the Budget and spending review this Wednesday (27 October).

This breaks down to £5.7 billion for transport settlements in city regions and £1.2 billion of new funding for bus services.

Sky News reports that the money the Treasury intends for the money to boost productivity through train and station upgrades, as well as the expansion of tram networks in cities outside of the capital.

The combined authorities will receive:

  • £1.07 billion: Greater Manchester, including for next generation Metrolink tram-train vehicles.
  • £1.05 billion: West Midlands, including extending the Metro extension.
  • £830 million: West Yorkshire, including to extend the West Bradford cycle superhighway and installing electric vehicle charging stations in Kirklees neighbourhoods.
  • £710 million: Liverpool City Region, for new and renovated stations in Liverpool and Runcorn.
  • £570 million: South Yorkshire, to help to start a Supertram renewal project.
  • £540 million: West of England, for a fully prioritised bus route between Bristol and Bath.
  • £310 million: Tees Valley, including to upgrade Darlington and Middlesbrough train stations.

How the mayors have responded

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy 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.

“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.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “I have been in discussions with ministers for months to make sure we get our fair share of government cash. If the government is serious about levelling up, it needs to prove it doesn’t just want to improve the roads and tube links of London, we need to see real investment in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool – and this is another example of them doing exactly that.

“Every part of our transport network in the region will be touched, with our critical practical schemes such as major station renovation and road improvements sitting alongside funding for more innovative projects like low-emission vehicles and smart traffic lights."

West Yorkshire’s Mayor Tracy Brabin commented: “West Yorkshire bid for the upper limit of funding as allowed by the government, but our region needs even more, and with certainty over a longer time period, if the government is truly committed to levelling up.

“As the prime minister said, it is indeed a disgrace that West Yorkshire is the only major region in Western Europe without a Metro system, so we desperately need the government to address years of underinvestment in transport in our region.

“We’re keen to get more details on this funding so we can start delivering a 21st century transport service in partnership with our local authorities.

“Our vision for a more accessible and inclusive transport system which helps us tackle the climate emergency is essential if we are to achieve levelling up.

“Everyone in our region has something to give and we want to make sure there’s fair access to jobs, education and training which means they can increase their skills and get better paid jobs.

“I welcome the £830 million but I will be pushing for more."


Image credit | Ann in the UK, Shutterstock

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