The Chancellor admitted £4.2 billion of the £7 billion announced ahead of the Budget for transport over five years had already been announced
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Rishi Sunak was forced to admit that only a fraction of his £7billion investment package to level up transport across the country is new money.
Ahead of this week’s Budget, the Chancellor said £6.9bn will be delivered to English regions over five years to improve train, tram, bus and cycle routes across English regions.
But today he said £4.2 billion of that had already been announced – with the pot topped up by just an extra £1.5 billion.
Overall Greater Manchester will get £1.07bn, West Midlands £1.05bn, West Yorkshire £830m, Liverpool City Region £710m, South Yorkshire £570m, West of England £540m and Tees Valley £310m.
Mr Sunak told Sky News: “It’s a great example of levelling up in practice, and it’s ultimately just going to create growth in all of those places.”
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham welcomed the funds as “an important first step”.
But Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said she hopes the funds announced in this week’s budget will actually help. “But what we see from this government is lots of announcements and not much delivery.”
New Metrolink tram vehicles will be ordered in Manchester while rail stations are revamped in Darlington, Middlesbrough, Liverpool and Runcorn.
Mr Sunak refused to confirm if the Northern Powerhouse Rail link from Leeds to Manchester via Bradford will go ahead. And if the eastern leg of HS2 has been confirmed.
He said: “It wouldn’t be right for me to speculate on that now. People will see enormous improvements in journey times. If we can better connect up our towns and cities, that will allow our economy to grow.”
He added that these improvements will allow people to access “better paying jobs”.
Fears have been growing that the HS2 scheme’s eastern leg may be scrapped as part of the upcoming rail plan.
Labour ’s West Yorkshire mayor Tracy Brabin slammed the Tories for their lack of commitments over HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail and warned the Chancellor not to “water down” pledges.