For too long Britain’s regions and nations outside of London and the South East have not seen their fair share of infrastructure spend. There needs to be a joined-up approach to addressing the systemic structural imbalances in our economy. If we do not invest in regional transport infrastructure, we will not be giving our communities the tools they need to thrive.
That’s the message Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region has given to Ministers and MPs in Westminster.
Mayor Jarvis led a Westminster Hall debate about the importance of increasing regional transport infrastructure spend. The debate comes at a critical time for the country and the region, as the UK gears up to leave the European Union.
Mayor Jarvis, said: “Getting transport infrastructure spend right for regions across Britain will help each and every part of the country contribute to national prosperity. This is not about a binary North versus South debate. This is about the benefits of growth being better shared between, as well as within regions.
“If you believe in social mobility then you must ensure that people can move around to access opportunities, connecting people with the places they need to go. We need to ensure that we connect our nation’s best talent with the opportunities that will enable them to reach their full potential.”
In December 2018, the Mayor launched the Sheffield City Region’s first Transport Vision, which aims to build a transport system that works for everyone and that’s fit for the 21st century.
The Transport Vision is underpinned by a strategy that outlines how transport connections to destinations across the region need to be improved. It details that:
- Residents should be able to walk, cycle, drive or use public transport from their home to their nearest town centre in no more than 15 minutes.
- By using public or private transport, people should be able to travel between the region’s major towns and city centres in no more than 30 minutes.
- Journey times to at least four major cities in the North, including Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and Hull, will take no more than 75 minutes.
Last month the Transport for the North Board signed off its Strategic Transport Plan which calls for a bold £70 billion programme of investment into the North’s transport networks. They also agreed the Strategic Outline Business case for Northern Powerhouse Rail, which will better connect Sheffield City Region, Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester and other northern cities.
Mayor Jarvis continued: “When we have strong transport networks in place around good economic infrastructure, we know that our communities can thrive. A prime example of this is the Great Yorkshire Way, which is a stretch of road built to link up Doncaster Sheffield Airport with the M18. The last mile of this road is probably the most significant for a decade.
“Because of private and public-sector investment, our region unlocked £1.8 billion of investment and created 1,200 jobs. We know that we can do it, but we can only achieve these great results if the Government support us.”
The Mayor concluded the debate by asking Jesse Norman, Minister for State for the Department for Transport how the Government plan to resource the Transport for the North Strategic Transport Plan.
He also asked that the Minister raise with the Treasury to ensure that the funding allocation for Transport Infrastructure is fair across the country. The Minister has committed to meet with MPs to further discuss the funding allocation criteria.