Government's £4.7 billion for transport reform - how Manchester could benefit and what Andy Burnham has said

The money has been reallocated from the HS2 budget after the Manchester line was axed... in Manchester.
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The Government has today announced that £4.7 billion will be invested into transport across the North and Midlands. Greater Manchester is set to see a share of this money, which has been redirected from the axed HS2 line between Birmingham and Manchester. 

At the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester last year, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the cancellation of the HS2 line to the city. In its place, there was a pledge to have the money invested in transport across the North - including Manchester. 

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‘Network North’, as the project was named, is set to see road connections between towns and cities improved. One of the aspects expected to benefit Manchester is an improvement to the M6 on the way to Birmingham. 

The Department for Transport has outlined that projects will take place from 2025 through to 2032. They predict that the funding will be ‘at least nine times more’ than what the relevant local authorities currently receive. Out of the £4.7 billion figure, Transport Secretary Mark Harper announced that 2.5 billion will be given to the North. 

Lord Patrick McLoughlin, Chair of Transport for the North, said: “We welcome this funding for our local transport areas as a sign of progress towards transforming the north to a more inclusive, sustainable and better-connected region. By having greater clarity on the funding that’s available, and consolidating funding streams, it helps remove inertia and accelerates delivery on the ground. 

“TfN look forward to working with government and local leaders, because we know that the travelling public will get better results the more locally the decisions are made on how those services should be provided.”

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The announcement hasn’t been met with overwhelming positivity however, with Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham taking to social media to voice concern. In response to a newspaper headline suggesting the government were ‘firing up the engine of the north’ with the investment, he wrote: “Didn’t they promise this 10 years ago? They must think we are thick.” 

Projects set to benefit Manchester through Network North

Few concrete plans have come from the announcement, but the DfT has said they will ‘publish advice’ to local authorities to help them “develop ambitious plans” to improve local transport. 

Below are the confirmed plans from Network North that are set to benefit Greater Manchester over the coming years: 

  • Improving the M6 at Junction 15 between Manchester and Birmingha
  • Supporting 2 projects in the Manchester North West Quadran
  • Improving the Wigan East West road

Andy Burnham and the Stockport Metrolink extension

Part of the advice is expected to say the types of projects that will be eligible through the funding, including bus networks and mass-transit systems. This is a point that was raised to Mr Burnham on social media where he was asked about the possibility of the Metrolink being extended to Stockport. 

In response, Mr Burnham said: “We are looking in detail at Metrolink to Stockport, and other potential extensions, and will make an announcement shortly.”