Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said the government’s announcement next week which is expected to promise £7billion worth of investment for local transport outside of London has to “be backed with actual action”.
The Labour MP for Leeds West said the north of England is “sick of announcements without delivery”.
Speaking to Sky News, she said: “What we see from this government is lots of announcements and much less delivery.
Northern Powerhouse Rail
“Northern Powerhouse Rail, that would benefit Leeds and Bradford and Manchester and other towns and cities across Yorkshire, was first announced seven years ago, it’s been announced 60 times since then and there’s still not a single spade in the ground or train on the rails.
“It’s not good enough and the government are going to make more announcements this week.
“But we’re sick of, in the north, having the announcements without the delivery on the ground and we want to see concrete action to match the rhetoric of this government. That’s really important for all of us in the north of England.”
Upon being reminded of Labour colleagues Andy Burnham and Tracy Brabin displaying positivity about the announcement, Reeves insisted the money is welcome, but has to “be backed up with actual action”.
She said the “Northern Powerhouse Rail, the eastern leg of HS2, the dismal state that many of our bus services are in, with cuts over the last few years and higher fares, all of those things need addressing.”
She added: “It’s of course welcome always to have more investment but if that investment isn’t backed up with actual delivery, it’s really not worth the paper it’s written on.
“That’s the frustration in many towns and cities across the north of England, that while big grand projects get delivered elsewhere in the country, the few and far between in our towns and cities, a Northern Powerhouse Rail I think is the best example of a huge gaping chasm now between the rhetoric of the government and the actual delivery for people on the ground.”
Earlier this year, Andy Burnham said Brexit exposed a “wide divide” between UK’s regions: “It has broken out this issue of regional inequality and now the Johnson government want to level up.”
He said he was “skeptical” about whether the Tories will actually follow through on this.
But he said he was glad this is now number one on the political agenda.
“In all of my life, having spoken out for the North of England in Parliament, I’ve never seen regional inequalities as the top issue in British politics. Well, now it is,” he said.
He added “simple things like public transport” cost much more in Manchester than in London, one issue he suggested needs fixing.