Monday 21 June 2021 / 5:08 PM Jim McMahon

Labour demands Shapps sets date to start work on Northern Powerhouse Rail – nearly seven years after it was first promised

Labour has demanded the Government sets a date to start work on vital rail infrastructure in the north after nearly seven years, following media reports suggesting a major project could be scrapped.

Shadow Transport Secretary Jim McMahon has today written to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, asking him to confirm reports Northern Powerhouse Rail – also known as HS3 – could be axed are incorrect.  He has also asked Shapps to clarify why the project is yet to be approved more than six years after it was announced – despite being lauded in government press releases more than 60 times.

Labour is demanding ministers finally set out a route plan for Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) and commit to beginning infrastructure work on the project – which was first promised by then-Chancellor George Osborne back in 2014.

In his letter, McMahon said: “Warm words and vague promises, the likes of which we have seen from the Prime Minister during recent by-election campaigns, are simply not good enough.  Labour will not stand by while cities like Bradford – among those set to benefit most from vital infrastructure upgrades – risk being stifled by this government’s failure to keep its side of the bargain.

“Our party is clear – Northern Powerhouse Rail should be built. Estimates predict it will connect millions more people and thousands of businesses and help tackle our imbalanced economy.”