We need to prove the case for the north again, says Transport for the North boss

Transport for the North chief executive David Brown says that faced with a new government lead by Theresa May, the infrastructure and construction sector will need to re-prove the case for investment in the north.

Speaking at an industry dinner in York on 29 September 2016, Brown said that following the summer’s Brexit vote and a change of government personnel, the industry needed to speak up once more for the north. “To grow the UK you need a powerful north and post-Brexit that’s an even more powerful story,” Brown said.

“We have to treat the new administration as a new government. Any initiative needs to be proven again with a new government so we need to prove the case for the north again. We need to point out the need to grow the economy in the north and the way to do that is via transport investment,” Brown said.

Brown said that the industry needed to be clear about what its priorities are and maintain a long-term view up to 2050. “We have to demonstrate that we have the political and industry support for that and we have to resolutely stick to our priorities,” he said.

Ambition was crucial, said Brown as was a long-term approach to road and rail. In order to think long-term, the industry also needed to promote the need to implement an ambitious programme for the north over the next 25 years, he said.

Brown also said that collaboration across the north was vital in attracting investment and political support. “All 19 local transport authorities have approved Transport for the North’s strategy. The whole of the north has said we want this and we want it now. Collaboration will drive our plans forward and help us with the government. We are also looking forward to working with the new elected mayors,” said Brown.

Brown said he hoped that the Autumn Statement will see TfN created as a statutory body and “reaffirm the government’s commitment to the money previously allocated to us”. He also said that industry support was crucial in making sure that the government delivers. “We need the industry to lobby the chancellor before the Autumn Statement to ensure that we get what we need,” Brown said.

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