Rachael Maskell MP
Rachael Maskell MP

Rachael Maskell MP has once again highlighted her frustration at Government’s failure to invest in The North, describing its latest U-turn on rail as a “bitter blow to York”.

Transport spending in London is over 3 times greater in London than in Yorkshire and the Humber Region £903 per person compared to just £276, despite people paying the same taxes.

On the heels of COP26, when the hope of keeping 1.5’C rise alive, above pre-industrial levels, failed to meet the challenge, it has highlighted that more investment is needed in sustainable transport options, not roads, which is where a substantial amount of funding to The North will be based. Currently 31% of all emissions in the UK come from transport. The Government’s plan is illiterate in recognising either the climate or economic needs of The North.

Clearly the Government cancelling the Northern Powerhouse Rail Route is incomprehensible for York commuters who travel to Leeds, Manchester or Liverpool as they are daily faced with overcrowded trains which are anything but ‘express’ as the route is called. While support for HS2 has been mixed against its rising cost, for passengers who wind their way to Sheffield, Birmingham and the South West, they will struggle to understand why Government are withdrawing from their commitment to provide the infrastructure necessary to see passenger and freight routes enhanced.

The OECD argued that addressing the regional productivity divide, between high-productivity areas like London and Southern England and low-productivity regions in the North, can be a key channel for fostering long-term growth and sharing prosperity across the country, recommending regionally focused investment in transportation as part of an industrial strategy to boost productivity; the most significant cost of downplaying investment in the North. York must be seen as the centre for economic investment and good quality, well paid jobs, that everyone in the city can benefit from, however if Government withdraw investment, then residents in the North will lose out yet again.

Instead of ‘levelling up’, Government have cut 40% of the transport budget to the North.

Rachael Maskell MP says:
“The Integrated Rail Plan is nothing but a bitter blow to York. Rather than investing in the future of our city’s rail links, Government have broken their promise to York and have levelled down the opportunity to build a sustainable transport future to address the climate emergency and have levelled down the opportunity to have good quality rail route for the future.

“As a railway city, we understand the cost of the Government’s U-turn, but we also understand the cost that each of us are paying to prop up the prosperous South while seeing very little return on our taxes. Not only will we see journey times between London and York increase by 14 minutes than previously predicted, but in response to my question in the House, the Secretary of State said that capacity issues would be addressed on the TransPennine Route, yet despite his assurances, there is nothing in the Integrated Rail Plan on this, despite him saying it was set out in the text.

“Every announcement this Government makes is to pour favour on their supporters in the South and snub the North. I will continue to fight for enhanced rail routes and capacity to Hull, the Northern section of the East Coast Main Line to Newcastle and Scotland, and enhanced capacity to Leeds and all destinations West from there. I will further make the case for York to be the home of Great British Railways, so that our city can lead the next generation of rail.”

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