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Government announces funding deal for trams and light rail

THE government has confirmed that it will provide funding to support the tram and light rail systems in Sheffield, Manchester, the West Midlands, Nottingham and Tyne & Wear, and says it is ‘working with local authorities to identify what support is needed to allow essential services to continue’.

The news comes after several days of intense negotiations, amid warnings from City Mayors that some systems might have to close down as the result of dramatically lower revenue.

There is also new help for international freight routes, and ferries to places like the Scilly Isles and Isle of Wight.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘Essential supplies are continuing to flow well, but operators are facing challenges. Today’s action will help ensure all parts of the UK have the capacity they need and, following on from our action to support the rail and bus sectors, it shows how this government is acting to protect the transport links the country relies on.’

The news was welcomed by Transport Focus chief executive Anthony Smith, who said: ‘During these challenging times it is vital that our transport networks and key freight routes continue to run to ensure critical supplies get to where they need to be.

‘Key workers and people who rely on tram and metros to travel for medical care and essential shopping will welcome the news that the Government is set to provide the necessary support for these services to continue.’

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