A NORTHERN rebellion is brewing against the government’s shelving of plans to invest in rail, campaigners claimed yesterday, pointing to a 30,000-strong petition demanding a U-turn.
Ministers have invested £14.8 billion in constructing Crossrail, improving southeast England’s connections to London, and announced a further £30bn last week for Crossrail 2, another London-based rail scheme.
That came days after the government scrapped plans to electrify rail services in northern England and the Midlands and rowed-back on a longstanding pledge to improve the trans-Pennine rail links.
But a petition by the Institute of Public Policy Research North think thank on campaigning site 38 Degrees demanding fairer funding for northern rail is attracting around 5,000 signatures a day.
IPPR North director Ed Cox said the petition is “laying bare northern anger.”
He said: “The Department for Transport just isn’t listening. Its response has been to patronise northern commuters up-in-arms as mouthy troublemakers who need a good lecture on London’s special transport needs.
“The government keeps saying that London businesses will pay half of Crossrail 2 — but it’s being tin-eared on calls for the north to get these investment-raising powers too.
“Northern businesses would like to contribute but we need Transport for the North to get the powers Transport for London has to raise investment for essential infrastructure.”
TfN represents all local enterprise partnerships and all combined authorities and local transport authorities in northern England.