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2021-01-14 TfN-001
Transport for the North

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Transport budget cuts threaten levelling-up agenda, say Northern leaders


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Spending Review
TfN
Transport for the North



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Transport for the North

Transport budget cuts threaten levelling-up agenda, say Northern leaders
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date
14 January 2021
source Transport for the North
type Press release



Northern leaders say budget cuts to key transport initiatives in the North of England will delay economic recovery and undermine the levelling-up agenda.

It comes as civic and business leaders discussed plans to significantly reduce next year’s budget for Transport for the North (TfN) – the region’s statutory transport body.

Whilst yet to be finally agreed, the Department for Transport has set out its intention to award less than half the funds included in TfN’s Spending Review bid last year. It includes a cut in TfN’s core funding to £6m from £10m previously, and no funding for the roll out of contactless payment systems on the North’s rail, bus, and tram networks.

TfN Board members expressed disappointment at the decision. They say the budget cuts are coming at a time when the levelling-up agenda – as well as supporting an economic recovery from Covid-19 – is needed more than ever.

[[[graphic: Iain Craven, Finance Director at Transport for the North speaks on funding cuts]]]

Speaking following the meeting, Iain Craven, Finance Director at Transport for the North, said: “Transport for the North’s Board has clearly indicated its disappointment and concern that, a time when the Government’s levelling up agenda is needed most, funding is being cut, putting northern investment and jobs at risk. It falls substantially short of what we outlined the North would need to level-up infrastructure and accelerate benefits to the region.

“There is a real worry that this signals a diminishing ambition for the North, rather than pump-priming the region’s economic recovery.

“Establishing Transport for the North was a symbolic moment for devolving power to Northern leaders, one that fully supports the levelling-up agenda. Our members have clearly indicated the ambition that, over time, TfN should have a greater role and more oversight of investment, but the opposite is proposed.

“Further to the discussion at today’s Board, we are seeking an early meeting between our members and the transport secretary.”

The loss of £33m of smart travel funding could delay the roll out of contactless technology in the North (planned for 2021/2) to around 1,000 buses, as well as train and light rail networks totalling over 600 million journeys in 2019. This, alongside the roll out of flexible ticketing, is seen as critical to aiding Covid-19 recovery and encouraging passengers back to public transport.

The decision would lead to the winding down of TfN’s Integrated and Smart Travel programme and is also likely to lead to workforce reductions at TfN.

TfN is now in dialogue with the Department for Transport regarding the settlement and is making further representations following today’s meeting.


Railhub Archive ::: 2021-01-14 TfN-001





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