Though the Northern Powerhouse agenda, launched exactly five years ago by George Osborne, the then Chancellor, has focused on the region’s great cities, the area’s market towns still have huge potential.
They must not be forgotten – a point made by Don Valley MP Caroline Flint, in a Commons debate on transport links. And it is the same with North Yorkshire County Council whose urgent calls for improvements to the now notorious A64 between York, Malton and Scarborough, and a bypass for Pickering, do not appear to be shared by Ministers.
Not only is there a strong economic case – these are tourism hotspots – but it is also an issue of trust after Anne McIntosh, the then Ryedale MP, raised the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions in January 2013. In response, David Cameron – remember him? – told Parliament: “The quality and the capacity of the road system in Yorkshire has been, and is, a major issue. The Government has taken some important steps to help, but I know there is more work to be done.”
Yet another promise not followed through, it is all the more reason why this newspaper, and its partners, is committed to holding Westminster’s leaders to account so the North receives fairer funding. For, if the tailbacks endured on the A64 were being experienced in the South East, the Department for Transport would have acted by now – even under Chris Grayling.