TODAY we issue a rallying cry to the north: join us to demand what government promised us.
As part of our day of action, news titles across the region are starting a petition calling on ministers to come good on their northern powerhouse pledges – by ending the chaos on our rail services, signing off the upgrades they promised us and redressing decades of underfunding to the region.
Four years ago this month, then-Chancellor George Osborne promised – when unveiling his vision for a northern powerhouse – to ‘join our northern cities together’ with faster, modern transport connections.
Directly addressing the franchise eventually won by Northern Rail a year later, he said: “We’ll want to see not just better services, and more seats at peak times, but also better journeys.”
So now that’s what we want.
Instead of launching a lengthy inquiry that will not report back – with information the government should already know – until the end of the year, transport secretary Chris Grayling needs to end the chaos on our rail network NOW.
We need a fair, fit-for-purpose compensation scheme put in place within days.
And we need the rest of the northern powerhouse that government promised us too: the major transport projects – such as extra platforms at Manchester Piccadilly and Oxford Road – we were pledged, but which are now languishing on Mr Grayling’s desk.
Finally, we want fair funding – not more second-class services, while London eyes up its SECOND high-speed CrossRail link.
With one voice, we say to the Prime Minister: You promised us a northern powerhouse.
It’s time you delivered it.
By Jennifer Williams