Budget: Yorkshire risks missing out on transport fund as Chancellor prioritises metro mayors

Yorkshire risks missing out on much of the Government's promised £1.7bn fund to deliver local transport schemes, as Chancellor Philip Hammond revealed half the total would go to areas with elected metro mayors.

Chancellor Philip Hammond stands outside Number 11 Downing Street

In his Budget speech today, Mr Hammond said he wanted to help people shine "wherever they live" and promised to support the 'Northern Powerhouse' and 'Midlands Engine' schemes.

Earlier this week, the Government announced a 1.7bn 'transforming cities fund' to improve transport links and promote local growth within city regions. But Mr Hammond said today that half of the funding would go to the six areas with elected metro mayors, including Greater Manchester and Tees Valley.

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He said the remainder would be open to competition to other cities in England. Yorkshire has not yet agreed a devolution deal that would result in the election of a metro mayor, though the Sheffield City Region will hold an election in 2018.

The Chancellor was under pressure to provide extra funds for housing and the NHS in today's Budget speech.

In other announcements relating to the North, Mr Hammond announced £123m in funding for the South Tees Development Corporation,a new devolution deal on North of the Tyne region and £337m for the Tyne & Wear Metro.

Reacting to the news, Henri Murison, Director of Northern Powerhouse Partnership said: “It is disappointing that Leeds City region and Sheffield City region will not receive a guaranteed allocation from the government cities transport fund.

"I hope these city regions will be successful in the bidding process, with Birmingham’s tram extension an example of the scale of ambition we must have for Yorkshire cities networks.

“Investment in 3G connectivity, trialled across the Pennines, is vital to encourage more business travel by train between Leeds and Manchester by ensuring people can be digitally connected and working as they would at a desk – aided by the Wifi being rolled out gradually on the newly refurbished Siemens trains on the Trans Pennine network.”

The Chancellor was under pressure to provide extra funds for housing and the NHS in today's Budget speech.