Pressing the Minster for Transport yesterday in Parliament, Imran Hussain MP urged the Government to commit to building Northern Powerhouse Rail in full, with a stop in Bradford City Centre.
During the exchange, Imran told the Minister for Transport, Andrew Stephenson, that the Northern Powerhouse Rail route from Manchester to Leeds through Bradford City Centre would help meet the UK’s commitments to reduce carbon emissions set out at COP26 as part of plans for a green recovery, whilst also transforming Bradford’s economy and drawing jobs and much-needed investment into the city.
However, the Minister for Transport stated that the Government was committed to supporting local aspirations and that the Government would look at evidence of a new station in Bradford in their forthcoming Integrated Rail Plan, but failed to commit to building NPR.
This is a marked departure from previous comments by the Minister in a debate in June in which he stated that the Government remains “absolutely committed to the Northern Powerhouse Rail programme”, with accusations that the Government are “kicking the can down the road” and backtracking on commitments to level up Bradford and the North.
The future of the Northern Powerhouse Rail project has been in doubt for some time, with no mention of the project in the Chancellor’s Autumn 2021 Budget, and Ministers reportedly keen to transfer funds for NPR to the troubled High-Speed 2 project from London to Birmingham instead.
Speaking on the Government’s failure to commit to Northern Powerhouse Rail, Imran said:
“Northern Powerhouse Rail with a stop in Bradford’s City Centre would transform Bradford’s economy and draw jobs and much-needed investment into the city, so it is deeply disappointing that the Minister failed to commit to this ambitious project that would level up communities in Bradford.
“Given the Minister’s comments earlier this year in Judith’s debate compared to his feeble statement today, it’s also clear that that the Government are backtracking on their previous support to NPR, and are intent on kicking the can down the road by delaying the Integrated Rail Plan time and time again.
“Ministers need to give some clarity, listen to every single business and civic leader crying out for NPR to be built in full with a station in Bradford City Centre, and announce their firm commitment to building Northern Powerhouse Rail in full without any further delay.”