Transport links to drive economic growth of ‘second Northern Powerhouse’

The Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, will use transport as the vehicle to drive economic growth in Manchester and the North.

The results of last month’s General Election suggest the public are largely behind the Conservatives’ plans for the future of the north.

Mr McLoughlin is optimistic that improved transport connections will see the north rise once again.

“We believe in the power of transport to change things,” he said.

“Great transport created the first Northern Powerhouse nearly two centuries ago. And it can create the second one today.”

Change is already starting to take effect: employment in the north rose by over 150,000 in just one year and unemployment has dropped by more than 20%.

The government has promised to invest a further £13 billion in northern transport over the next five years and this will include major improvements to the M62 and the A555.

Transport for the North, the partnerships between northern cities’ regional authorities, Government and national transport agencies will be tasked with allocating the funding.

By the autumn, Transport for the North will have a new independent chair whose remit will be to represent cities like Manchester and speak on behalf of the north with one voice.

Mr McLoughlin said: “We know the transport infrastructure across the north is not nearly good enough for a region with such incredible potential.

“It’s an exciting programme that will bring massive benefits to the region.”

The high-speed rail network, HS2, is a focal point of the government’s plans to balance the economy by closing the gap between north and south.

Construction will begin on HS2 in just two years and plans have been proposed for yet another new high speed rail link, HS3, which would connect Manchester with Liverpool, Hull and Newcastle.

Already flying in the face of controversy, the Government’s plans are sure to provide plenty of talking points as the projects progress.

Main image courtesy of Gareth Milner, with thanks.

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