Rishi Sunak to hand £1.4bn green transport boost to Yorkshire - but concerns grow over Northern Powerhouse Rail

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce £1.4bn of support to fund a “local transport revolution” in Yorkshire at next week’s Budget and Spending Review.

Mr Sunak will reveal that West Yorkshire is to receive £830 million and South Yorkshire £570m in the next five years under the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement programme, which is being increased from its initial £4.2bn budget to £5.7bn.

But the announcement of the new funding comes as fresh doubt was cast on the future of the Northern Powerhouse Rail scheme, with the publication of the long-awaited Integrated Rail Plan being pushed back amid reported tensions between Boris Johnson and Mr Sunak about the costs of the project.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Treasury said the Settlement funding will pay for schemes such as renewing Sheffield’s Supertram network; creating a ‘Dutch-style’ roundabout in Barnsley that gives priority to cyclists and pedestrians; providing electric vehicle charging points on residential streets in Kirklees; improving the A61 between Wakefield and Leeds for buses, cyclists and pedestrians and the creation of a largely segregated cycling route along Thornton Road - one of Bradford’s busiest roads.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is to unveil his Budget and Spending Review on Wednesday.

Mr Sunak said: “Great cities need great transport and that is why we’re investing billions to improve connections in our city regions as we level up opportunities across the country.”

West Yorkshire mayor Tracy Brabin welcomed the news of the £830m investment but said further details are needed on whether the funding package will allow development work to begin on a long-awaited mass transit system for Leeds.

She said: "We’re keen to get more details on this funding so we can start delivering a 21st century transport service.

“I welcome the £830 million but I will be pushing for much more. It’s good news though that the Government is finally giving us the boost which means we can start work on providing the transport system the people of West Yorkshire deserve.

“I’m grateful to all our region’s leaders for working so hard to deliver devolution, enabling us to be considered for this vital funding.”

The Spending Review will also see the announcement of a £1.2bn programme to improve bus services outside London as part of Boris Johnson’s £3bn bus strategy that was announced in March. The Treasury said locations to benefit from this money “will be selected in the coming months” and can expect to receive “London-style” cheaper and simpler fares, along with additional services.

Mr Sunak said: “There is no reason why somebody working in the North and Midlands should have to wait several times longer for their bus or train to arrive in the morning compared to a commuter in the capital.

“This transport revolution will help redress that imbalance as we modernise our local transport networks so they are fit for our great cities and those people who live and work in them.”

But the pre-Budget announcement comes as it was reported that the publication of the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan has been delayed after the Prime Minister expressed concern the current proposals for Northern Powerhouse Rail do not go far enough.

A Whitehall official told the i newspaper the current proposals for NPR - which has been intended to see a new line created between Leeds and Liverpool via Bradford and Manchester and high-speed upgrades to existing lines between several other Northern cities - are a scaled-back version that would only deliver a revised version of the plan “on a shoestring”.

The official said the current NPR plan has a budget around £20bn - half the original estimate.

“It’s a total mess,” they said. “You will know who has won this battle between No 10 and 11 if NPR is in the 30s or 20s of billions of pounds when the IRP is published.”

The Treasury refused to comment to the i.

Rail decisions 'now due in November'

Decisions on the future of the Northern Powerhouse Rail and the Yorkshire leg of HS2 are now expected to be published around mid-November.

The Birmingham Mail reported that the Integrated Rail Plan, which had been expected in the days around the Budget, has been pushed back to around November 11.

There are growing concerns that the Birmingham to Leeds leg of HS2 will be scrapped or mothballed when the IRP is published.

The Department for Transport said the Integrated Rail Plan would be published “in due course”.

Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you'll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers. Click here to subscribe.