Euro-Star sell off should not hold back future investment in infrastructure

“Businesses across our region regularly cite poor transport connectivity as a barrier to growth. Whilst the Public Accounts Committee is right to hold Government to account over its management of public funds we should not allow this to hold back investment into infrastructure which will transform the UK economy.

As part of the rebalancing agenda, HS2 and HS3 are vital and must not be considered in isolation as standalone pieces of infrastructure which may or may not be sold off at a later date. Instead they must be viewed as part of a wider series of ongoing and sequential investments which will strengthen the economies, of the north in particular, and the UK as a whole. The delay by DfT in producing its evaluation report is therefore unacceptable as it plays into the hands of the detractors of future public investment such as these.

Decades of underinvestment have left this region’s infrastructure creaking and unable to cope at peak periods, one only has to commute across the Leeds City Region to see this. Rail capacity between London and our region is fast being constrained, whilst journey times between the major cities of the north and the midlands can often take as long as journeys to the capital.

From the Chamber’s perspective, Chancellor George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse agenda will stand or fall on improving connectivity into and across the north of England.

If the Public Accounts Committee would like to visit Yorkshire and see how our road and rail networks function then they are most welcome to do so, they should ensure they book a ticket well in advance if they want a seat however!”

Gerald Jennings, President, Leeds Chamber of Commerce