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Mayor challenges Transport Secretary over broken promises around Manchester-Leeds line

22/07/2017

Mayor writes to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling expressing disappointment at potential downgrade of plans to improve Manchester - Leeds train route.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has written an open letter to Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, over potential downgrade of plans to improve the Manchester to Leeds rail route.

22 July, 2017 

Dear Chris,

Today I read with surprise and disappointment your comments in Manchester yesterday about the potential 'downgrade' of the electrification of the rail line between Manchester and Leeds and changes to the plans to upgrade Piccadilly station.

The electrification of the line across the North is critical to the delivery of your Government's promise of a Northern Powerhouse. The North has suffered from a lack of investment compared to the rest of the country and has had to put up with second class transport for too long.

A revitalised northern economy will only happen with significant investment in our rail infrastructure.

I'm sure I don't need to remind you that both electrification and the enhancement of Piccadilly were firm promises by your Government. If they are now not going ahead, as your comments yesterday seemed to indicate, that would represent a major broken promise to the people of Greater Manchester and the North, and the derailment of the Northern Powerhouse.

Your comments yesterday were all the more surprising given there was no mention of this in your written Ministerial statement to Parliament on Thursday. What the North needs more than anything is clarity about future investment and I believe you owe it to the people here to set out your plans clearly and to honour your promises.

I note that Conservative Party conference is being held in Manchester this year. I would ask that you use that opportunity, if not sooner, to come to Manchester to clear up the uncertainty.

Yours sincerely,

Andy Burnham
Mayor of Greater Manchester