GOVERNMENT LETS DOWN THE NORTH EAST AGAIN

August 26, 2009 10:10 AM

Newcastle and the the north east of England has been let down again by the Labour Government over transport, said a senior Liberal Democrat campaigner.

Ron Beadle, Parliamentary spokesman for Newcastle North, spoke out after Network Rail announced plans for a £34 billion high-speed London to Scotland rail line, via the North West.

"It is very disappointing that the Government and Network Rail has decided to ignore the claims of the north east of England and Yorkshire and run the new high-speed rail line up the West Coast Main Line," said Ron Beadle.

"Running the line via Birmingham and Manchester means cities like Newcastle, Leeds and Sheffield are missing out.

"This is simply is not good enough."

In today's announcement, Network Rail said the high-speed rail link would cost £34 billion to build but generate almost £55 billion of value, thus paying for itself 1.8 times over.

A recent report commissioned by Metro and the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive revealed that a high-speed rail line serving Yorkshire and the Humber would be worth £32 billion to that region's economy.

"Clearly the north east of England's economy could benefit by a similar level if the north east of England was connected to London by high-speed rail," said Ron Beadle.

"A high-speed rail line connecting the north east of England to London and Scotland would pay for itself. Once again the Labour Government is again letting down the north east of England."

The region is missing out on transport funding when compared with London. A total of £826 is spent on transport for every Londoner, versus just £235 in the North East, according to the Passenger Transport Executive Group.

"There is clear evidence that the north east is missing out on transport funding compared to London and the rest of England," said Ron Beadle.

"London receives more than two-thirds the amount of public spending per head than is spent in this region on roads and railways.

"With improved transport links to London, the north east can really support the UK's economy."