the ECONOMIC case for sustained improvement in Yorkshire’s creaking transport infrastructure continues to be well argued. Today’s report by the IPPR North policy think-tank, and leading accountants from KPMG, argues that the North “should be in the premier league of world economies but is currently condemned to mediocrity because of lack of investment”. He cites how 40 per cent more people could be commuting between Leeds and Manchester each day if there were sufficient trains.
The TransPennine Express example is symbolic as IT firm FDM looks to relocate from the North West to Leeds and create up to 500 jobs locally. It’s a significant move - Rod Flavell, FDM’s chief executive, tells this newspaper today that the move to the city from Manchester was a ‘no-brainer’.
But how many would be dissuaded in making such a move due to the state of our rail infrastructure. The Transpennine Express is, after all, the strategically critical railway route that the Government repeatedly promised to upgrade before the election, before the project was ‘paused’ because of concerns about Network Rail’s management capabilities.
Given the extent to which infrastructure funding is already skewed so heavily in London’s favour, it will be, frankly, scandalous – and a betrayal of the Northern Powerhouse’s supposed objectives – if this scheme is not given the green light in the Government’s forthcoming spending review once Sir Peter Hendy has completed his review of Network Rail.
For this great city will never settle for mediocrity.
Good news, but why more delays?
Good news at last for sufferers of Morquio Syndrome: health regulator NICE is ‘leaning towards’ recommending a much-wanted pioneering drug. But a final decision has been delayed and so, families these families remain in limbo. For goodness’ sake, please put these poor families out of their misery. Make the call - and make it the right call.