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McLoughlin attends transport meeting for "northern powerhouse"

Words: Laura Edgar
Manchester train station

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has visited Yorkshire for the launch of Transport for the North - a body formed to encourage the north of England to unite on transport decisions that will affect the region.

The groups' first meeting, held in Leeds, considered east-west rail links, roads, ports, airports and broadband to better connect the region. It was founded by government to work with ministers on creating a strategy to stimulate economic growth around the proposed HS3 high speed rail link between Leeds and Manchester. The new body includes representatives of the main northern city regions. 

“Rebalancing the economy and creating a northern powerhouse of jobs, investment, prosperity and bright futures, is a key objective of the government’s long term economic plan," said McLoughlin.

“It is crucial we work together to deliver a world-class, integrated transport network for the North that reduces journey times, increases capacity and connectivity, and enables growth.

“We have already made great strides and the creation of Transport for the North is an excellent next step. I want Transport for the North to speak with one voice to government on the big decisions to benefit the region as a whole.”

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “This is about how we gear up the north and build a northern powerhouse which can properly fulfil its potential for UK plc.

“Economic growth doesn’t happen by accident, it happens by design and having the right integrated infrastructure in place is vital for us to generate that growth.”

He added that Transport for the North will now draw up plans to make this vision a reality over the next 15 years.