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Northern leaders urge Chancellor to fund improved transport infrastructure


Mayor of Greater Manchester candidate Andy Burnham

Mayor of Greater Manchester candidate Andy Burnham

Mayor of Greater Manchester candidate Andy Burnham

Northern politicians have called on Chancellor Philip Hammond to prioritise "northern powerhouse rail" over London's Crossrail 2 in the Autumn Statement on Wednesday.

The Labour figures, including Greater Manchester mayoral candidate Andy Burnham, told Mr Hammond to heed the "wake-up call" of the Brexit vote and invest in new rail infrastructure in the north of England.

The politicians, representing Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Liverpool, said northern motorways are reaching "saturation point" and that train capacity is "at the limit".

They warned that investors could lose confidence in the North, and the so-called "northern powerhouse" initiative without improvements to the transport network.

Mr Burnham said: "This is the start of a big change in British politics. From now on, at key political moments, people will hear the collective voice of the North of England more loudly than ever before challenging a Westminster system that has failed us for too long.

"Decades of unfair allocations from the transport budget have left the North with an inadequate rail system and motorways that are at saturation point.

"If people in London and the South East had to put up with the North's transport system, there would be protests in the streets. It is our turn to come to the front of the queue for transport investment and that must start this week."

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Mr Burnham joined Labour's Liverpool mayoral candidate Steve Rotheram, interim Greater Manchester mayor Tony Lloyd, Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake, Manchester City Council leader Richard Leese, Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes and Sheffield City Council leader Julie Dore to make the call in a letter to Mr Hammond.