Yorkshire must unite with the rest of the North to produce a single plan for transport investment over the next 15 years, the Transport Secretary said today.
Speaking as he met council leaders in Leeds, Patrick McLoughlin called for the North to speak with ‘one voice’ when it comes to deciding which transport projects the Government should back.
Mr McLoughlin, Conservative MP for Derbyshire Dales, was in the region at the first meeting of Transport for the North, the body set up by the Government to come up with a long-term plan for transport investment.
He said: “It is crucial we work together to deliver a world-class, integrated transport network for the North that reduces journey times, increases capacity and connectivity and enables growth.
“We have already made great strides and the creation of Transport for the North, is an excellent next step.
“I want Transport for the North to speak with one voice to Government on the big decisions to benefit the region as a whole.”
Transport for the North is part of the Government’s wider plan to turn the North into an economic ‘powerhouse’ by improving connections between its towns and cities so that together they can compete on the world stage.
It brings together local authorities from across the North, as well as bodies including the Highways Agency and HS2 Ltd, the Government company developing the proposed high speed rail line linking London with Sheffield, Manchester and Leeds.
Coun Sir Richard Leese, Manchester Council leader, who chaired today’s meeting, said: “This is about how we gear up the north and build a northern powerhouse which can properly fulfil its potential for UK plc.
“Economic growth doesn’t happen by accident, it happens by design and having the right integrated infrastructure in place is vital for us to generate that growth.
“Transport for the North is now charged with drawing up a bold delivery programme to make that vision real in the next 15 years.”