DESPITE the newly-constituted Transport for the North not having the financial and decision-making powers enjoyed by its London equivalent – its remit is solely to advise under-fire Cabinet minister Chris Grayling – its chairman John Cridland is relishing the role.
This is self-evident from his interview with The Yorkshire Post in which he makes the link between infrastructure investment and economic growth with far more certainty and clarity than Mr Grayling whose disregard for this area becomes more apparent with each new controversy.
As Mr Cridland says, the distance between cities like Bradford, Sheffield and Manchester by way of example is the equivalent of the length of the Central Line on the London Underground. Yet, while public transport is not an issue for commuters in the capital, poor road and rail infrastructure make it harder for today’s young people – tomorrow’s wealth-creators – to access career-changing opportunities. Given his limited powers, TfN’s task is not only to advise Ministers but to make such a persuasive case that this region starts to receive fairer funding because economic, transport and social policy are all inter-related.