Call for review of rail plan welcomed by Chamber

West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce has welcomed a call for a review of the Government’s future rail plans.

The House of Commons Transport Committee has recommended that the Government reviews its Integrated Rail Plan, published last November.  The original Plan was widely criticised for failing to include the anticipated new city centre station for Bradford.

Bradford Chamber President, Victoria Wainwright, said: “We welcome this call for review. As well as it meeting the Levelling Up agenda, the improved connectivity is vital for the success of the regional as well as local economy.  Bradford has the UK’s youngest population and we must have the infrastructure to provide opportunities for future generations and also assist social mobility.  Bradford is being left behind and it’s the Government’s duty to address this.”

Last month, a delegation of Bradford business representatives, organised by Bradford Breakthrough, travelled to Westminster to meet with then Chancellor Rishi Sunak to demonstrate the business need for a new rail hub in the city. The event saw Victoria, Vice President Mark Cowgill and Chief Executive James Mason make the case for a once-in-a-generation investment to create wider economic impacts and re-connect Northern cities.

Chair of the Commons Transport Committee, Huw Merriman MP, said:

“Many towns and cities are already disappointed by the proposals. The Prime Minister promised that he would, with Northern Powerhouse Rail, do for the North what he did for Londoners with Crossrail. Instead, much of the track will be an upgrade of existing line. The business case of HS2 was based on it going east to Leeds. Now, it stops in the East Midlands without any understanding of how much money is saved.”

He went on to ask the Government to “Revisit the evidence base for the decisions they have reached. In recommending this reassessment, we are mindful of a previous Transport Committee report which challenged the Government on its ability to deliver major infrastructure projects.”

West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce supports and represents businesses in Bradford, Leeds and York & North Yorkshire.

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