Ministers challenged over rail funding

MINISTERS have been challenged finally to give Yorkshire a fair deal on transport funding as pressure mounts for the Government to fund fully a vital project to unclog key rail routes in the region.

The Government must give the region its fair share of funding, Shipley MP Philip Davies told Commons Leader Sir George Young yesterday following years in which commuters have lost to London.

“I am not asking for extra funding for transport, given the terrible financial legacy that this Government were left by their predecessor,” said the Conservative MP. “What I am asking for is that Yorkshire gets a fairer slice of the transport cake and that Bradford gets an even fairer slice than that.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Yorkshire Post’s Give us a Fair Deal and Road to Ruin campaigns have highlighted the way the region has lost out heavily on transport spending to London.

A cross-party group of MPs has also called on Transport Minister Theresa Villiers to fund the “Northern Hub” project completely rather than adopting a “piecemeal” approach.

Concerns were raised after Ms Villiers said government funding for the package of improvements – to speed journeys and increase frequency – was unlikely to be “an all or nothing” decision.

The group’s chairman Julie Hilling said: “Of course it is very disappointing if the Government adopts a ‘piecemeal’ approach to the Northern Hub. However the Rail in the North group has cross-party support and is determined to continue to press the case for the whole Northern Hub project in the next control period.

“We have not given up on this objective but will redouble our efforts to get the message across that this is not just fair but vital for the whole northern economy.”

Ms Villiers said she would “look carefully” at the project and said a “major programme” of rail improvements is under way in the North of England.