Chancellor announces £5million backing for Midlands Connect

A transport initiative designed to provide better links across the Midlands has been given £5million backing by Chancellor George Osborne.

Midlands Connect is ran by political and business leaders across the East and West Midlands, the group believe far better transport connections are needed for growth in the region.

In Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget statement he announced he would make money available to the Midlands Connect team which is aiming for better road, rail and freight links.

After the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin announced that electrification of the Midland Main Line was to be put on hold, the leader of Birmingham City Council and Leader of Nottingham City Council, Jon Collins, wrote to the Chancellor to express their concerns.

Investment strategy

The letter read: “In light of the recent announcement of the pausing of MML electrification, it will be even more important to set a credible long term investment strategy which can support the building of the Midlands as an Engine for Growth and sustain investor confidence.

“In addition there is a pressing need to ensure the Midlands’ road and rail networks are ready for HS2, amplifying the economic gains that can be delivered by the project, starting with construction of phase 1 in 2017.”

After the Chancellor announced the budget Andrew Cleaves, Chair of the Midlands Connect Partnership Steering Group, said: “Today’s Budget statement is very encouraging and clearly shows that the Government fully recognises that a dynamic and successful Midlands is vital to the UK’s overall economic health.

“But we now need to power up the ‘Midlands Engine’ which is why we have asked Mr Osborne to back a high level summit to discuss the part Government can play in securing a long term investment strategy.”

The summit is planned for autumn 2015.

The Engine for Growth campaigns aims:

  • To develop an integrated plan for improved connectivity to HS2.
  • Address east-west Midlands connections.
  • Address capacity for freight movements.
  • To improve connectivity to international markets via the region’s airports.
  • Create 300,000 extra jobs in the Midlands by backing the local economy e.g. manufacturing and engineering.
  • Upgrading the motorways to four lanes, delivering faster north-south rail connections and east-west links.

Those already involved in Midlands Connect include local enterprise partnerships, Network Rail, the Highways Agency, local authorities and the business community.


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