Search

HS2: Government Promises Funds will be ‘Reallocated’

hs2

The government has outlined further details of how it would redirect funding from the scrapped northern legs of the HS2 rail line. Around £4.7bn from cancelling the high-speed routes is due to be handed to councils outside big cities in the Midlands and northern England. Councils would be responsible for allocating funds to specific projects, in line with government guidance.

The funding has been earmarked for spending between 2025 and 2032, after the next spending review that sets departmental spending. The period covered would also come after the next general election, which is expected later this year, raising further uncertainty over the plans.

HS2

HS2, which was scrapped in October, intended to link London, the Midlands and the north of England through a new zero carbon, high-speed railway. HS2 became the UK’s flagship transport levelling up project and the biggest rail investment ever made in the North of England, as well as Europe’s largest infrastructure project.

In total, over 250 miles of new high-speed line was planned across the country. Major civil engineering works were underway with £23 billion contracted into the supply chain and around 350 active sites between the West Midlands and London, which the Government claims supported almost 30,000 jobs.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who will hold a cabinet meeting in Yorkshire on Monday, has promised that £36bn will be spent on further transport funding in northern areas of England.

The transport department has disclosed some further details of how it plans to spend the money, including the funding period and a breakdown by individual local authority. Guidance on how the money should be spent would be set out in “due course”, it added, but cited new bus and train stations, roads and mass-transit systems as projects that would be eligible. it also suggested it could also go towards refurbishing bus and trains stations, as well as building charging points for electric cars.

The seven-year funding period mirrors the latest funding allocations to the separate £17bn funding pot for big cities. The department said this would help big-city authorities to work with neighbouring councils in more suburban and rural areas on shared projects. Transport Secretary Mark Harper said confirmation of the spending would be “game-changing” for smaller cities and towns, and enable them to “drive economic growth”.

Criticism

Henri Murison, chief executive of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, a lobby group for northern businesses, said he was “not particularly excited” by the details shared by ministers. He said that the costs to the north of England incurred by cancelling HS2’s northern legs would be “significantly more than the amounts of money that are going to be allocated” as a result. This has therefore led to questions surrounding the Government’s so-called commitment to levelling up.

Moreover, shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said “The Tories have failed and local people are sick and tired of this government taking them for fools. Only the Conservatives could have the brass neck to promise yet another ‘transformation’ of transport infrastructure in the Midlands and North after 14 years of countless broken promises to do just that.”

Haigh said Labour would give “every community the power to demand London-style services, by taking back control over buses and bring our railways back into public ownership as contracts expire”.

Curia’s Levelling Up Commission

Curia’s Levelling Up Commission is considering how the valuable aims of the levelling up agenda can be achieved from the perspective of local and regional government, as well as service providers across all four areas of public policy detailed below. All too often, levelling up is being done ‘to and for’ communities, rather than in partnership. The Commission intends to ensure this is led locally.

To engage with each issue in-depth, a conceptual understanding of the framework at hand is warranted. As such, the Commission defines levelling up as:

“The process of extending opportunities, improving wellbeing and reducing inequalities to empower citizens across the UK, through reducing disparity in resources and access to services. It involves concerted effort to bridge the gap between different regions and communities, with the ultimate goal of creating a more equitable and prosperous society.”

In particular, the Commission will consider how improved public service and infrastructural provisions can help to drive down regional inequalities across England. Through a series of inquiry sessions, written submissions, regional sprints and quantitative data analysis, the Commission will set out a series of recommendations, and an accompanying implementation plan to consider how regional inequalities can be reduced from the perspective of public service design and provision in four key areas:

  • Health and social care
  • Education, skills and training
  • Housing and homelessness
  • Criminal justice and rehabilitation

Share

Related Topics

Latest

Video Features

Insights from greater:SATX on UK-Texas Trade Deal and Cybersecurity Collaboration

Energy & Net Zero Secretary, Claire Coutinho MP at International Women's Day Parliamentary Reception

Inspiring Breast Cancer Now Fundraiser for 2024 London Marathon

50:50 Parliament North of England Rally, #CallingAllWomen, Leeds

Subscribe to our newsletter for your free digital copy of the journal!

Receive our latest insights, future journals as soon as they are published and get invited to our exclusive events and webinars.

Newsletter Signups
?
?

We respect your privacy and will not share your email address with any third party. Your personal data will be collected and handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Never miss an issue by subcribing to our newsletter!

Receive our latest insights and all future journals as soon as they are published and get invited to our exclusive events and webinars.

Newsletter Signups
?
?

We respect your privacy and will not share your email address with any third party. Your personal data will be collected and handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Never miss an issue by subcribing to our newsletter!

Receive our latest insights and all future journals as soon as they are published and get invited to our exclusive events and webinars.

Newsletter Signups
?
?

We respect your privacy and will not share your email address with any third party. Your personal data will be collected and handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Newsletter Signup

Receive our latest insights as soon as they are published and get invited to our exclusive events and webinars.

Newsletter Signups
?
?

We respect your privacy and will not share your email address with any third party. Your personal data will be collected and handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy.