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Boost for regional transport in upcoming budget

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It looks likely that Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce a £5.7 billion investment into sustainable transport settlements for city regions in his Autumn Budget and Spending Review as he aims to boost productivity through train and station upgrades and the expansion of tram networks in cities outside of London.

Also, to improve bus services, he is also expected to announce £1.2 billion of new funding as part of the £3 billion committed by the Prime Minister.  This will deliver Transport for London-style improvements to speed up journey times, simplify fares and increase the number of services outside of the capital.

Commenting on his proposals, which will be confirmed in his budget statement on Wednesday 17 October 2021, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “Great cities need great transport and that is why we’re investing billions to improve connections in our city regions as we level up opportunities across the country.

Rishi Sunak, Chancellor.

“There is no reason why somebody working in the North and Midlands should have to wait several times longer for their bus or train to arrive in the morning compared to a commuter in the capital.

“This transport revolution will help redress that imbalance as we modernise our local transport networks so they are fit for our great cities and those people who live and work in them.”

As part of the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements, funding will be allocated for projects in Greater Manchester (£1.07 billion), West Yorkshire (£830 million), South Yorkshire (£570 million), West Midlands (£1.05 billion), Tees Valley (£310 million), West of England (£540 million) and Liverpool City Region (£710 million).

The money will fund projects including new trams for Greater Manchester’s Metrolink, an expansion of tram networks in South Yorkshire and the West Midlands, and battery packs for Merseyrail trains to extend its network.

Grant Shapps MP, Transport Secretary.

Commenting on the news, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We’re absolutely committed to building back better and boosting regional economies right across the country, and these investments are a clear example of how we’re doing that.

 “Modernising our transport network sits at the heart of our levelling up agenda. This funding will serve as a catalyst for the regeneration of towns and cities by improving infrastructure and ensuring more people have better access to jobs and education.”

The devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive additional funding through the Barnet formula because of this investment for England – this will be outlined in full at the Spending Review.

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