They’re proud of their roots in industrial towns. They’re One Nation Tories who genuinely want the whole country to succeed. And they also know how governments operate – or do not.
This is why Lord McLoughlin’s appointment as the new chair of Transport for the North has been a timely one. Having set HS2 in motion, he knows the Integrated Rail Plan, and scaling back of ambition over high-speed rail, is detrimental to this region.
As a former Transport Secretary, it is also harder for Grant Shapps, the current incumbent, to dismiss the objective views of Lord McLoughlin – this newspaper, for one, hopes that the two men can work together and improve the strained relations that now exist between the London Government and the North.
Central to this, however, will be the extent to which Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the Treasury support the Levelling Up White Paper – the thrust of Ms Greening’s column. As she argues, the Government’s good intentions, including on transport funding, will nullified if the Treasury’s benchmarks to measure to success differ from the White Paper’s metrics.
“No organisation can easily succeed if it has two plans and two sets of metrics. The Government needs one levelling up plan, one set of metrics and Ministries across Government aligned to deliver them,” she warns. Over to you, Mr Sunak, your response is awaited with great interest by the North’s 15 million residents.
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