Theresa May is refusing any callbacks that have been demanded by firms in the North, who have requested to have the same authority and powers regarding transport management that those in London have. They have requested a £70bn investment into road and rail to improve the standards of roads nationwide, rather than solely focusing on the capital.
In an interview with the Yorkshire Post, May spoke regarding the matter stating that they hope to improve transport across the UK. Giving “the biggest investment in a generation”, following a 30-year vision designed to improve Yorkshire’s road and rail networks was introduced.
John Prescott, former Deputy Prime Minister described the proposals as “fraud” due to many organisations lacking the same revenue or support provided to an organisation such as TfL, he went on to state that the region depends on finding resources and investment elsewhere for the council’s plans to improve their roads and railway to become “world-class”.
During the interview, the PM stated the reasoning behind TfL having more authority and resources when compared to TfN (Transport for the North) is because they are “two different sorts of organisation.”
“Transport for London actually runs some of the transport in London and that is why it has got the revenue stream that is there. Transport for the North is about co-ordinating and bringing together things across the North in a strategic way, looking at what transport structures across the North should be. So it is a slightly different focus they both have.”
She continued: “We are already putting significant sums of money into transport across the North, the biggest investment in transport in the North for a generation under this Government. We have put money into the North’s ability to prepare this vision and look at what might be necessary for the future. The North is being supported in terms of funding for transport.”
Last November, TfN were backed with £260m of national funding and became the first regional body to create a statutory transport strategy by the Government. This means that when the Government make choices regarding transport, TfN should be consulted regarding any decisions in their area.
Lord Jim O’Neill spoke regarding the matter, as one of the architects of the Northern Powerhouse project as well as Treasury Minister (under George Osborne) he stated it was “crucial” TfN would need the same authority and powers given to those in London. One Yorkshire and Barnsley MP Dan Jarvis spoke on the matter, stating more ambition was required to “rectify decades of under-investment in Northern transport infrastructure.”
TfN’s strategy to acquire funding for transport improvements and repairs include using revenues from vehicle excise duty with expected surpluses from major rail franchises in the region as well as taking advantage of increasing land values in areas where major investment is required to improve infrastructure.
The PM was also questioned as to whether the government will deliver on transport visions. Her response was that TfN is still “taking views on that 30-year vision.
Adding: “We are committed to ensuring that we are seeing improvements in transport infrastructure across the North. There is £13bn going into transport infrastructure in the North, the biggest investment for a generation.”