Hitting “pause” button is bad for business

The news that planned electrification of key rail lines in Yorkshire is to be “paused” is disappointing, says West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.

Delaying the electrification of the York-Manchester and York-Sheffield routes, which the Government is blaming on Network Rail being too ambitious, will disappoint businesses across West and North Yorkshire.  Transport infrastructure and connectivity is regularly highlighted by members as a major concern, says the region’s major business representative organisation.

“To have the plug pulled so soon after the election is disappointing and, some might say, disingenuous,” said Chamber Policy Executive Mike Cartwright.  “The objectives were ambitious, yes, but it doesn’t help the Government’s claim to be creating a northern powerhouse when the two northern schemes are shelved but the southern one remains intact.  Announcing it now when the DfT was warned over a year ago about spiralling costs will be described by some as cynical.”

Mark Goldstone, the Chamber’s Head of Policy, added:  “It is disappointing to hear that long promised investment in our regional rail network has been paused. The Chamber supports the Government’s Northern Powerhouse ambition but a fundamental component is connectivity, we can’t build a 21st century economy serviced by 19th century infrastructure. We would hope to see reinstatement of these projects as quickly as possible.”

The Chamber has been calling for electrification of the CalderVale line for several years, as well as a better trans-Pennine service.

Read more about the delay on the BBC website.