The Chancellor today took to his feet and announced a raft of measures on pensions, welfare, tax and employment.
But on his Northern Powerhouse idea, the Chancellor had almost nothing to say.
Louise called the budget “a snub to Sheffield” after he failed to commit to the £38bn rail upgrades which were the flagship of his “northern powerhouse” idea.
The flagship upgrades were “indefinitely delayed” by the Transport Secretary back in June and since there have been no firm commitments on if or when the project will begin. The project was supposed to bring the route from London to Sheffield out of the 19th Century and increase capacity and journey times across the North.
Instead, the budget focussed on a paltry £30m scheme to introduce regional transport cards.
Responding, Louise said:
“The Northern Powerhouse was supposed to lead a revolution in investment, infrastructure and growth across the North. But all this budget could come up with was a few gimmicks including the use of Oyster Cards across the North.
It is a scandal that the Northern Powerhouse idea has been whittled down from a grand multi-billion pound project to grow the North to a paltry initiative to introduce a regional transport card.
The Chancellor has to get real on investment for the North - what we needed today was a firm commitment to get electrification back on track, instead we got an Oyster Card. This is a betrayal of Sheffield and Northern cities and the fact the Chancellor gives no firm commitments in this Budget to either the £800m electrification of the Midland Mainline or the £38bn wider rail upgrade is deeply troubling”
Louise Haigh is the Member of Parliament for Sheffield Heeley and has written to the Transport Secretary to demand firm commitments on rail electrification - the story is available here http://www.louisehaigh.org.uk/rail.