20 Days Remaining

Tuesday 25th
posted by Morning Star in Britain

by Felicity Collier

CHRIS GRAYLING was berated yesterday for backing a £30 billion transport project for the home counties just days after shelving rail electrification plans for Wales and northern England.

The Transport Secretary issued a joint statement with London Mayor Sadiq Khan saying the pair would work together on a financial package for Crossrail 2, linking Hertfordshire to Surrey via central London.

But politicians from outside of London warned that the investment disparity would merely increase north-south inequality.

The shelved plans included a fully electrified Transpennine line between Leeds and Manchester — one of the busiest routes in Britain.

Shadow transport minister Andy McDonald said: “People elsewhere in the UK will be asking why billions of pounds more should be spent on London while promised works are cancelled in regions already suffering from under-investment.”

He pointed out on Friday that the Tories knew that they would cancel electrification plans before the snap election.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said that the Tory government’s promise of a Northern Powerhouse becomes “ever more distant.”

The former shadow home secretary added that he would contact fellow metro mayors and council leaders across the north to challenge the cancellation.

Labour’s Liverpool Mayor Steve Rotheram called for investment to “support growth in the north” and said the cancellation came as “a surprise, given it wasn’t included in the Conservative Party manifesto.”

The Department for Transport claimed the electrification plans haven’t been scrapped altogether, with a final decision due next year.