Yorkshire given 'worst of all worlds' on Northern transport after Chris Grayling let-down

Chris Grayling is under pressure to meet his northern spending promises
Chris Grayling is under pressure to meet his northern spending promises
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Pressure is growing on Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to clarify his plans for rail investment in the North after renewed questions this week.

It follows a mounting political backlash after it emerged that Transport for the North, the body tasked with overhauling the region’s infrastructure, will have limited decision-making powers.

Related: It's time Chris Grayling was held accountable - and forced to give the North a fair deal

The disclosure in leaked Parliamentary paper comes after Mr Grayling controversially scaled back pre-election plans to electrify two of the region’s railway lines, claiming there were more effective ways to secure improvements to reliability and punctuality.

However Hull North MP Diana Johnson will now lead a backbench debate in the House of Commons on Monday and she says that she is expecting answers from the Transport Secretary.
She says it is a betrayal of the region that Transport for the North will not have the decision-making powers, and ability to raise money, enjoyed by its equivalent body in London.

The MP is also concerned that its function is to “advise” Mr Grayling rather than take the lead.

Writing exclusively in The Yorkshire Post, Ms Johnson says: “In short, the Government has given the North the worst of all worlds: neither the money to fund our transport projects and lever in private investment; nor the power to raise funds and promote the North ourselves.

“Do Ministers really believe their arguments about the need to ‘rebalance the economy’ and regenerate economies and communities across the North? After all, it was these Ministers who coined the term ‘Northern Powerhouse’.

“For all these reasons, it is time that the Transport Secretary was held accountable and forced to give our region’s tax-payers, fare-payers and businesses the fairer deal on transport investment that we need and deserve.”

A Department for Transport spokesperson defended the Government’s record, saying: “We are carrying out the biggest investment in transport in the region for a generation. We have also given Transport for the North £60m to develop plans, and look forward to working with them once proposals are submitted later this year.”