A £1.4 billion bail-out of London’s long-delayed Crossrail scheme has outraged the Yorkshire Party, which is demanding a fair share of the nation’s resources for the county.
The £15bn Elizabeth Line had been due to open this month, now no date has been announced.
The rescue plan – the third this year – comes a few weeks after a report showed that for every £1 spent on each passenger in Yorkshire, £3 was being invested in London,
Bob Buxton, a member of the Party’s Executive Committee and a transport campaigner, said: “If there’s a transport problem in London,Westminster pays whatever it takes – £15bn just for starters, followed by a £590m cash injection in July 2018, an ‘interim’ £350m loan in October and now another £1.4bn for Christmas.
“Think what Yorkshire could do with just these ‘little extras’, never mind the full budget.
“The only way to achieve a Yorkshire focus on transport is with proper, powerful devolution, including our fair share of public spending; it works for Scotland, where the Borders Railway was reopened three years ago, it can work for Yorkshire too.”
Bob Buxton is a parish councillor in Rawdon, and was elected to the Executive Committee in October. He is campaigner for better rail investment and was the Yorkshire Party Parliamentary candidate in Pudsey last year.
Last month (November 2018), The Yorkshire Post reported that public spending on transport in Yorkshire fell by £18 a person in a year while rising by £90 in London.
The “depressing” new analysis by IPPR North research showed Yorkshire and Humber suffered a bigger drop in transport spending per head from 2016-17 to 2017-18 than any other region in England.
Last year, public spending on transport was £315, more than three times less than the £1,019 spent in London.
The latest snub to Yorkshire’s inadequate infrastructure comes after months of chaos on the region’s railways have brought misery to its commuters and other passengers.
The Yorkshire Post describes Transport Secretary Chris Grayling’s support for a second Crossrail sceme a “mockery” … “when passengers in the North are having to contend with the worst services in the country”.
“After so many snubs to the North, Mr Grayling should be confirming – categorically – that no more public money set aside for either of London’s Crossrail schemes until rail links here begin to meet the public’s expectations and the region’s economic aspirations.”
Commenting on the Crossrail shambles in his Guardian column, Sir Simon Jenkins says: “The Department for Transport has long had a simple agenda. A cynic might sum it up as: give London anything it wants, but starve the north of investment until it gets the point and moves south. It is called regional policy, applied ruthlessly since 2010.”
On comparative public spending, Sir Simon adds: “… the Institute for Public Policy Research reports that public spending in the south has risen by £3.2bn since 2010, against a fall of £6.3bn in the north.”
The Yorkshire Party’s vision is for the high-quality, integrated transport network that is crucial to a fully functioning economy. “The rapid, easy and affordable movement of goods and people throughout the region is not only a key economic driver but also important to improving the quality of life for those living and working in Yorkshire,” says our transport statement.