YP Letters: Plea to Theresa May for '˜Crossrail in the North'

THIS is an open letter that the region's senior business leaders have written to Theresa May today about transport investment '“ and the case for a '˜Crossrail for the North' scheme.

Business leaders are pressing the case for a Crossrail for the North.
Business leaders are pressing the case for a Crossrail for the North.

Dear Prime Minister,

CONNECTING our great cities of the North with a world-class, higher capacity rail network is not only fundamental to the success of the Northern Powerhouse, it is fundamental to the success of the entire country.

We’re calling on you to back this success, and back Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR).

In the Industrial Strategy Green Paper earlier this year, the Government officially acknowledged the historic under-investment in northern infrastructure and promised to tackle it. Implementing Northern Powerhouse Rail would be transformational for businesses in the North, driving productivity and attracting 850,000 new jobs to the region by 2050. It would create a transformational legacy of investment for the North of England the likes of which has not been seen before.

We are calling on the Government to show its continued commitment to Northern Powerhouse Rail in the Autumn Budget, alongside a step change investment in the wider road and rail corridors which link the key economic assets of the North.

This crucial, pan-Northern infrastructure of Northern Powerhouse Rail, our Crossrail for the North, would significantly cut journey times, for example providing a commute of no more than 30-minutes between Leeds and Manchester and less than 60 minutes between Leeds and Newcastle, and have a dramatic impact on the UK economy.

The Government itself has acknowledged and shown the potential improvement in national productivity from this, as well as other policy initiatives. This transformational investment in connectivity, from Liverpool across to Sheffield, Hull and Newcastle, is the long-term solution the North needs.

The current poor connectivity in the North is a major obstacle to encouraging companies from growing in the region and is a barrier to inward investment.

According to Transport for the North (TfN), fewer than 10,000 people in the North can access four or more of the North’s largest economic centres within an hour.

This would rise to 1.3 million once delivered. It would also create fast, frequent connections between the North’s core cities and Manchester Airport.

We urge the Government to re-state its commitment to Northern Powerhouse Rail as a matter of priority. Without it the vision for a genuine Northern Powerhouse to rebalance our country’s economy and make UK plc prosper for decades to come cannot be delivered.

We are passionate believers that this is not just a Northern issue, it is a UK issue. It should not be seen as Crossrail 2 in London versus Northern Powerhouse Rail; both schemes are vital for Britain’s future.

From: Steve Gillingham, Director for the North, Mace; Jonathan Moore, Partner, Arcadis; Dave Newton, Director, ARUP; Chris Oglesby, Chief Executive, Bruntwood; Collette Roche, Acting Chief Executive, Manchester Airport; John Joyce, Managing Partner, Addleshaw Goddard; Andy Koss, Chief Executive, Drax Power Ltd; Sandy Needham, CEO, West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce; Dr Hakim Yadi OBE, Chief Executive Officer, Northern Health Science Alliance Ltd; Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO, aql; Clive Memmott, Chief Executive of Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce; Richard Gregory, Senior Adviser and Honorary Chair, Yorkshire Bank; Nick Ramshaw, Managing Director, Thompson Brand Partners; Simon Smithson, Director; Think Architecture; Marcus Mills, Chief Financial Officer; The Big Word; Martin Harrison, Director, Leeds Civic Trust; Nik Pratap, Partner, Brewster Pratap; Tim Waring, Director, Quod North; Bridget Davies, Managing Director, Minster FM; Andrew Cooper, Chief Executive, Leeds Business Improvement District; Graham Cooper, Director, Agfa Graphics; Colin Glass, Partner, WGN; David Maddison, General Manager, Trinity Leeds; Dr Edward M Ziff OBE, Chairman & CEO, Town Centre Securities PLC; Nick Garthwaite, Managing Director, Christeyns MD, Bradford Chamber of Commerce President; Andrew McFarlane & Greg Styles, Co-Heads, Northern Powerhouse, Colliers International; Henry Brooks, TEM Property Group; Ben E Aspinall, Managing Director, Aspinall Verdi; Sue Stones, General Manager, Harvey Nichols; Andrew Latchmore, Shulmans; Marlen Roberts, Managing Director, Newsco Insider Ltd; Jeff Pearey, Lead Director - Yorkshire and North East, JLL; Suzanne Burnett, Castle Employment Agency; Mark Fordyce, York Data Services; Matthew Grant, Garbutt + Elliott; Mark Ronan, Pocklington School; Eamonn Keogh, O’Neill Associates; Andrew Lindsay, Lupton Fawcett; Alison Birkinshaw, York College; Andrew Digwood, Rollits; Robert Sword, Dawnay Estates; Daniel Murray, Founder, Leeds List; Colin Booth OBE; Chief Executive & Principal Leeds City College; Philip Dyer, Director, Northern Powerhouse, Atkins.