Steve Rotheram - Today the new Chancellor of the Exchequer had the opportunity to map out a credible plan to address the transport needs of the North of England. It is a bitterly disappointing blow that a West-East rail link for the North wasn’t included in his spending plans.
There was lots of noises from Number 11 about helping those who are 'just about managing', but the Chancellor has just kicked these promises into the grass.
It is now critical the Government commits to delivering infrastructure investment for the North and Northern Powerhouse Rail, which I have written to Mr Hammond about, provides an opportunity to do just that.
The Tories are keen to fund Crossrail 2 which will benefit London but they must not continue to neglect the needs of the North if they are serious about building a country that works for everyone and addressing the historically sluggish economic growth rate outside the South East. Why is it that for every £6 the South obtains, the Liverpool City Region receives just £1 in transport funding?
Failure to invest in infrastructure projects will expose the insincerity of the Government's industrial strategy and make plain that Westminster is ignoring the needs of areas like ours.
As Metro Mayor, I will be demanding the Government to outline a scheme for a new rail route between Liverpool and Manchester as a priority link into HS2 because in a post-Brexit area people in Merseyside and Halton cannot afford to be left behind again.