The government has unveiled a Growth Plan which includes lower taxes, new ‘investment zones’ and investment in infrastructure.
This features 86 schemes to improve roads, and 10 for railways. The rail schemes included in the Plan have previously been proposed, and in some cases work on them has already begun.
They are Cambridge South station, the Northumberland Line, White Rose station, Thorpe Park station near Leeds. the Transpennine route upgrade, East West Rail, improvements to Leeds station and in the Manchester area, Midland Main Line Phase 3 and Northern Powerhouse Rail.
The Midland Main Line upgrade will see the electrification of a further 139km of the line from South Wigston, south of Leicester, to Derby, Sheffield and Nottingham.
The scopes of Northern Powerhouse Rail and the Transpennine route upgrade have changed more than once, and the latest Treasury documents about the Plan give no further details about what is proposed now.
Similarly, it is not clear how much of East West Rail will be going ahead, with the Bedford to Cambridge section sometimes said to be in the most doubt. Trains are running between Oxford and Bicester and restoration of the line from Bicester to Bletchley is already well advanced, while passenger trains have never been withdrawn between Bletchley and Bedford, in spite of closure proposals made in the 1960s and 1970s. The spur to Aylesbury along the former Great Central main line from Calvert seems less likely to go ahead in the foreseeable future, but EWR trains will be able to run through to Milton Keynes Central via a new junction at Bletchley on to the West Coast Main Line.
The new Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng said: ‘Economic growth isn’t some academic term with no connection to the real world. It means more jobs, higher pay and more money to fund public services, like schools and the NHS.
‘This will not happen overnight but the tax cuts and reforms send a clear signal that growth is our priority.
‘Cuts to stamp duty will get the housing market moving and support first-time buyers to put down roots. New Investment Zones will bring business investment and release land for new homes in communities across the country. And we’re accelerating new road, rail and energy projects by removing restrictions that have slowed down progress for too long.’