“Worrisome” lack of funding for major rail projects
Chris Oglesby is Managing Director of Bruntwood Commercial Real Estate Group which owns and operates offices in cities such as Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool.
He welcomed the certainty that funding for transport across the regions would provide over the next five years, but called it “worrying” that the budget was passed without any mention of funding to support Northern Powerhouse Rail nor the eastern part of HS2.
“These two transformation projects would boost economic growth in the North and the Midlands,” he said.
“Alongside our local transport networks, we need to see investments in intercity links – connecting Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield and Newcastle – the original agglomeration thesis that drove the entire Northern Powerhouse project.
“This combination is what will unlock the next generation of growth in the North and rebalance the economy.
“Not investing in an underground station in Manchester Piccadilly is a mistake that we will regret and see as a major strategic mistake.
“Without this piece of the rail puzzle, the opportunity to properly connect Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool – attracting investment and creating jobs – will never be fully realized.”
Referring to the investment, he said: “Initiatives like the £ 150million for regional angel investors are a good start.
“But the government will also need to ensure that programs like the new £ 1.4bn Global Britain Investment Fund also aim to close regional investment gaps.”
He added, “With the release of his long-awaited Leveling Up white paper still pending, today’s budget and full spend review was done without a strategy.
“This does not bode well for, in this government’s own words, its” defining mission. “
“It’s hard to escape the feeling that, aside from a few welcome initiatives, Leveling Up continues to be just a slogan.”