Plans for tram system in West Yorkshire could be developed with £830m Government funding

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is to announce plans to hand West Yorkshire £830m to help develop its integrated transport system next week.

Saturday, 23rd October 2021, 9:31 am
Updated Saturday, 23rd October 2021, 9:32 am

The Chancellor is setting out his plans in next week's Budget and Spending Review, in which he wants to fund a "local transport revolution".

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority is waiting to hear the specific details of the funding - but there are hopes it can start developing its plans for a mass transit system with the funding.

The authority also wants to progress plans to improve the bus network and bring in more zero-emission electric buses, as well as more frequent and reliable services.

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The money will also help bring more zero-emission electric buses onto the network

Mr Sunak said: “Great cities need great transport and that is why we’re investing billions to improve connections in our city regions as we level up opportunities across the country.”

West Yorkshire mayor Tracy Brabin welcomed the news of the £830m investment but said further details are needed on whether the funding package will allow development work to begin on a long-awaited mass transit system for Leeds.

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She said: “West Yorkshire bid for the upper limit of funding as set out by the Government, but our region needs even more than that if the government is committed to levelling up.

“As the Prime Minister said, it is indeed a disgrace that West Yorkshire is the only major region in Western Europe without a Metro system, so we desperately need the government to address years of underinvestment in transport in our region.

“We’re keen to get more details on this funding so we can start delivering a 21st century transport service.

“Our vision for a more accessible and inclusive transport system which helps us tackle the climate emergency is essential if we are to achieve levelling up.

“Everyone in our region has something to give and we want to make sure there’s fair access to jobs, education and training which means they can increase their skills and get better paid jobs.

“I welcome the £830 million but I will be pushing for much more. It’s good news though that the Government is finally giving us the boost which means we can start work on providing the transport system the people of West Yorkshire deserve.

“I’m grateful to all our region’s leaders for working so hard to deliver devolution, enabling us to be considered for this vital funding.”

The Spending Review will also see the announcement of a £1.2bn programme to improve bus services outside London as part of Boris Johnson’s £3bn bus strategy that was announced in March. The Treasury said locations to benefit from this money “will be selected in the coming months” and can expect to receive “London-style” cheaper and simpler fares, along with additional services.

Mr Sunak said: “There is no reason why somebody working in the North and Midlands should have to wait several times longer for their bus or train to arrive in the morning compared to a commuter in the capital.