Chamber tells Boris: “We won’t stand for second best!”

Boris Johnson, on his visit to Yorkshire for the Convention of the North conference in Rotherham, has been warned by West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce that the region will not stand for second best and watch the North get short-changed, once again, on transport investment. Chamber Chair, Gerald Jennings says in today’s (Friday 13 Sep 2019) Yorkshire Post: “It’s about time this government recognised that a powerful northern economy with 21st century connectivity is not a zero-sum game, but will add significantly to UK plc. The carrot we’ve been dangled in committing to a new Leeds – Manchester route doesn’t come close to what London and the South East already has, and we’re well aware of the bigger plan being hatched by the Conservative Group in the London Assembly to scrap Phase One of HS2 in order to fund Crossrail 2. The London Assembly doesn’t even have a role in deciding HS2’s future, and obviously cares little about the North and thinks we can be bought off with a promise of better east-west links between just two of our northern cities. No-one was promising us NPR before the former Chairman of HS2 suggested it to both complement and maximise the further benefits of investment in HS2. Well, we won’t stand for second best Boris – we need both!” With the whole country facing uncertainty thanks to the Brexit chaos, the Chamber has stressed that the only thing that is sure to get the UK’s economy moving in the right direction is the assurance of delivering HS2 in full alongside NPR. We have repeatedly reiterated that only the two together will provide the capacity for a robust rail network that allows people and goods to move freely, while regenerating towns and cities and helping the great northern industries to thrive. The billions that have been and continue to be pumped into improving London’s already far superior transport network is scandalous – Crossrail, Jubilee Line extension, High Speed 1 and Thameslink. It’s about time the North got it’s slice of the pie and stopped being fed on scraps and crumbs. West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce was invited to meet Doug Oakervee, the man leading the review into whether HS2 should go ahead, and we have set out exactly what’s at stake if HS2 is not delivered in full and the purse strings fail to stretch beyond the capital. Gerald Jennings has written in detail on this in a YP opinion-editorial piece – read a version of it here. NOTES –

  • Thames Link – £6.5 billion
  • Jubilee Line extension – £3.5 billion
  • Crossrail – estimated £20 billion
  • Crossrail 2 – estimated £32 billion

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