BUSINESS and council leaders in West Yorkshire are looking for signs of “tangible progress” on the Government’s ‘northern powerhouse’ project when the Chancellor delivers his Budget next week.
George Osborne is facing growing calls to use the Budget make specific commitments on projects designed to drive economic growth and create jobs in West Yorkshire.
Transport for the North (TfN), the body commissioned by the Government to draw up plans to transform transport in northern England, this week set out proposals for projects including high speed trans-Pennine rail and Smart North, a ticketing system allowing passengers to use their credit cards and mobile phones to access public transport.
Business groups now want to see evidence in the Budget that the Government is moving from commissioning studies to putting projects into action.
Chris Hearld, northern chairman for business advisory giant KPMG and part of the Business North group, said none of the projects in the TfN report were scheduled to happen in the near future and he would “love to see something happen to bring that timetable forward.”
He added: “It would be really great to see in the Budget signs of tangible progress in bringing the northern powerhouse to life.”
West Yorkshire Combined Authority chairman Peter Box called for “a commitment from Government to the sustained effort and focus that will make these projects a reality”.
He continued: “We also want to see Transport for the North taking a long hard look at the road network in the north, in the same way it has done for rail.”