Manchester news Northern transport budget slashes and contactless rail ticketing shelved Manchester united news
PremierLeague-News.Com - It means plans to bring northern rail passengers in line with their London counterparts are scuppered, at least for now.
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! The Government has slashed funding to the body that oversees transport in the north - throwing into jeopardy a plan for London-style smart ticketing and hitting other projects 'across the board'. Transport for the North, the body which oversees transport planning including the £39bn Northern Powerhouse Rail scheme to cut journey times between big cities, will lose 40 per cent of its core funding and a fifth of its total annual support for the next financial year. The most significant let-down is the retraction of a promise of £105m for smart ticketing. It's led northern leaders, who are seeking urgent talks with transport secretary Grant Shapps, to question Boris Johnson's election pledge to 'level up' the economy in the north and south. Read More Related Articles Bosses 'deeply sorry' after disabled passengers forced to drag themselves up stairs during Manchester Victoria works Read More Related Articles Spain extends UK travel ban due to concerns over spread of mutant coronavirus strain On a practical level, it means plans to bring northern rail passengers in line with their London counterparts are scuppered, at least for now. Iain Craven, Finance Director at Transport for the North, said: "Transport for the North has clearly indicated its disappointment and concern that, at a time when the Government’s levelling-up agenda is needed most, funding is being cut, putting northern investment and jobs at risk. "It falls substantially short of what we outlined the North would need to level-up infrastructure, help our economic recovery and accelerate benefits to the North." Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham (Image: Vincent Cole Manchester Evening News) The Department for Transport had originally allocated £150m for smart ticketing. Of this, £45m has already been spent on new gates at stations and 'tap in' points currently allowing smart card use, with plans in the pipeline for use with bank cards in the future. But the remaining £105m to make this happen is no longer available. This was made clear after TfN's request to draw down £33.4m for the next financial year to start installing contactless technology at rail stations across the north was refused. The development budget for NPR is frozen at £75m for 2021-22, with £8m of that given to HS2, the high-speed rail line from London to the north. Read More Related Articles More than 14,000 people in Tameside have had their first Covid-19 vaccine as borough pushes 'ahead of the curve' Read More Related Articles Most people in intensive care here now have Covid - how our hospitals face their ‘worst crisis’ of the pandemic TfN’s core budget will be cut to £6m from £10m. It's understood this could mean a reduction in the workforce. It comes after already taking a hit this financial year, receiving just £7 after an emergency reduction due to Covid-19. At a meeting on Thursday, Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester Mayor, said this was a 'critical moment' for the north of England and all the work of recent years.
News source = PremierLeague-News.Com
. "We are prepared to take difficult decisions and I think we've shown we can do that but what we shouldn't accept is having our capacity effectively cut in half. "The work of TfN will be affected across the board. "This feels to me more than just asking for efficiencies to be made. "All of this does bring into question the role of TfN. Is there a wish to weaken TfN at this moment in time so that we can't provide considered advice on all of these major decisions about to be taken for the north of England? "Some people will make that conclusion. It looks like levelling down. "It looks like the Government is preparing to say from on high what the north will be doing rather than allowing us to articulate what we think is right for the north.
Government accused of U-turn on exams with plans to test pupils after all
'Exhausted' doctors and nurses 'at breaking point' in coronavirus pandemic, claims medic "This looks like a top-down approach and being back to being levelled down. We should make our views very clearly known back to the Government about that." Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson, meanwhile, accused the Government of 'abandoning' smart travel, and said millions spent around the project in Liverpool could now be lost. A Department for Transport spokesman said "TfN was allocated up to £150m at the 2015 Spending Review to support its Integrated and Smart Travel programme. To date, £24m has been utilised to enable the roll-out of smart ticketing across the north. "We are focused on delivering more modern journeys for passengers, so are now considering how to deliver a more rapid and effective rollout. "The Transport Secretary has spoken with Northern leaders extensively, including in late December, to discuss their priorities. The Northern Transport Acceleration Council is now considering how a range of northern projects can be delivered more effectively." They said they were clear that 'passengers deserve more modern ticketing options as quickly as possible' and said TfN did not have an operating budget, was an 'advisory forum to progress and unblock existing projects - and that 'it is not vested with its own decision-making or funding powers'.
Source = PremierLeague-News.Com