Aug 03

Tories deny transport investment to boost economy

The Tories are switching off the proposed Crossrail for the Northern Powerhouse project which was designed to link the people and businesses of the North and secure a sustainable future of economic growth and prosperity.

Liverpool is being overlooked for 20-miles more of investment that would bring High Speed rail to the city and open up new capacity to move more freight to and from our port.

Now the government says it is denying the North the electrification of rail lines running West-East that would better link up people and businesses from Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle.

Over the past decade public spending on transport in London has been more than double that in the North – the North would have received £59 billion more in investment over the last decade if it had received the same per person for transport as in London.

Whether it is rail, road or our buses, Tory cuts, lack of investment and centralised control are costing us dear. We need local control of our buses, and long-term investment to better connect our cities, people and businesses across the North.

I’m backing a new petition calling on the government to reverse its U-turn and make the investment we in Liverpool and people across the North need to secure our economic prosperity. You can sign it by clicking here.

And I welcome the call by Labour Metro Mayors in Liverpool and Manchester to convene an urgent transport summit in the North bringing together business leaders and politicians from right across the north on August 23.

The lack of investment means that Liverpool and other Northern cities will not enjoy the environmental benefits of wider electrification. For instance,

Network Rail estimates that electrification and the running of electric vehicles can help to reduce CO2 emissions by an average of 20 to 30 percent compared to their diesel counterparts and the maintenance costs for electric trains are 33 per cent lower than for diesel.

Network Rail also estimates that electric fuel savings are between 19 and 26 pence per vehicle mile.

Before the General Election, the Tories promoted rail electrification as a vital contribution to rebalancing the UK economy, but now they have pulled the plug.

Labour is committed to a £10 billion investment in a Crossrail for the North – a series of major rail improvements that would begin to reverse decades of underinvestment in Northern transport infrastructure and help deliver 850,000 new jobs by 2050

The Tories claim that diesel bi-mode trains will deliver the same benefits as electrification, despite saying for years that that failure to electrify the network costs more in the long run, causes more pollution, worsens air quality, lessens capacity and makes services slower and less reliable.

Labour will deliver the promised electrification, we will address the imbalance in transport infrastructure spending, committing to enhancing and expanding the rail network in order to drive economic growth and rebalance our economy.