Northern leaders’ letter to the Prime Minister on Integrated Rail Plan announcement

19th November 2021, 6:40 am

The following letter has been sent today by Northern leaders to the Prime Minister following publication of the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan

Prime Minister Boris Johnson
10 Downing Street

18 November 2021 

Dear Prime Minister,  

As political and business leaders representing the North of England, we are writing to express our concerns over today’s announcement of the Integrated Rail Plan. 

We are concerned that by omitting both the Eastern Leg of HS2 and the new Leeds to Liverpool route of Northern Powerhouse Rail – with stops in central Bradford, Manchester and Warrington – you have failed to fully consider the advice of independent rail reviews, the ambitions of Northern leaders, and the appeals of our businesses.  

Your decision, contrary to your ambition to “level-up” the North, runs the risk of holding back our regional economies and compromising our plans to cut carbon emissions, just days after we hosted COP-26. 

People across the North were excited by your promise of new rail infrastructure and the benefits of a better-connected North – not only quicker travel times but more jobs and homes, new investment and regeneration, and better opportunities for our young people.  

In our view, this pared-back plan will not unlock the full potential of the North of England. 

These decisions go beyond party politics and indeed our generation. They are critical to the future of the North for the next 100 years and more. Given this, we believe elected representatives in all parts of the country should have an opportunity to consider whether your proposals represent a fair deal for their constituents before they are finalised.  

We are therefore asking you to call a free vote on these plans in Parliament. We look forward to your response. 

Yours sincerely, 

Tracy Brabin 
Mayor of West Yorkshire

Andy Burnham 
Mayor of Greater Manchester

Jamie Driscoll 
Mayor of the North of Tyne 

Dan Jarvis 
Mayor of South Yorkshire

Steve Rotheram 
Mayor of the Liverpool City Region

Joanne Anderson
Mayor of Liverpool 

Cllr David Baines 
Leader of St Helens Council 

Paula Basnett
Leader of Wirral Chamber of Commerce 

Cllr Martyn Cox
Leader of Bolton Council

Paul Dennett
City Mayor of Salford

Cllr Neil Emmott
Leader of Rochdale Council

Cllr Louise Gitting
Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council

Cllr Daren Hale
Leader of Hull City Council

Asif Hamid MBE
Chair of the Liverpool City Region LEP

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe
Leader of Bradford Council

Cllr Keith Little
Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport
Cumbria County Council

Cllr Ian Maher
Leader of Sefton Council 

Lesley Martin-Wright
Chief Executive of Knowsley Chamber of Commerce 

Tracy Mawson
Leader of St Helens Chamber of Commerce 

Cllr David Molyneux
Leader of Wigan Council

Councillor Graham Morgan
Leader of Knowsley Council 

Cllr Eamonn O’Brien
Leader of Bury Council

Rachael Owen
Chief Executive of Halton Chamber of Commerce

Cllr Shabir Pandor
Leader of Kirklees Council

Cllr Arooj Shah
Leader of Oldham Council

Cllr Brenda Warrington
Leader of Tameside Council

Cllr Andrew Western
Leader of Trafford Council

Cllr Mike Wharton
Leader of Halton Council 

Cllr Janette Williamson
Leader of Wirral Council 

Cllr Elise Wilson
Leader of Stockport Council

Sir Richard Leese
Leader of Manchester City Council

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