The Government have strongly supported the north of England’s local authorities and local enterprise partnerships to come together to form Transport for the North. We have committed £50 million to Transport for the North to produce a comprehensive transport strategy covering all modes of transport in an integrated manner to support delivery of the wider northern powerhouse strategy.
The Institute for Public Policy Research North report this week revealed that London gets £1,500 more transport spend per head than the north. For the cost of one Crossrail project we could connect the four major cities of the powerhouse and the four existing runways, utilising the spare capacity, adding £100 billion to the economy and creating 850,000 new jobs. Does the Minister agree with the report?
I am aware of the report, and we await the recommendations from Transport for the North on northern powerhouse rail, but the point about the report is that it offers a snapshot of where we are at the moment. It reflects where individual projects are in development and delivery. The situation will look extremely different in a few years.
Is the Minister aware that a 21% cut, on top of existing cuts, to the mode shift revenue support grant will have a devastating effect on the rail freight sector in the north of England and could lead overall to up to 190,000 extra lorry journeys every year? Surely this is taking things in absolutely the wrong direction. Will he undertake to reverse the cuts?
I hear the right hon. Lady’s comments. Our policy is to get more freight on to the railways. One of the points of HS2 is to free up capacity on the existing network for more freight. I will relay her points about the mode shift revenue support grant to the rail Minister.
The Government have said that one of the benefits of HS2 will be how well it links into, and integrates with, other forms of transport. Why, then, in the alternatives for HS2’s route through Sheffield and south Yorkshire is there no reference to how HS2 connects to HS3?
Northern powerhouse rail is being developed with the platform of HS2 being delivered—we are looking potentially to use parts of the HS2 network for northern powerhouse rail—but the final decisions on the routes through south Yorkshire have not been made. This is a live consultation, running until 9 March, and I ask that the hon. Gentleman participate in it.