Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today warned that the much vaunted National Infrastructure Scheme launched by Chancellor George Osborne ‘was passing Teesside and the North East by’.
Tom said “with the exception of the announcement of some additional support for the Tyne and Wear Metro, there is little cheer for our region in this announcement. Indeed some parts of the announcement could actually further disadvantage us.”
“The announcement that the rail links between Leeds and Manchester will be electrified are little help to us. To get the full benefit, this programme should properly have been between Middlesbrough, York and Leeds allowing for train services from Teesside and Tyneside to get the full benefit. If this gap is allowed to remain, all it will do is mean that services from Teesside and the North East to Manchester and Manchester Airport will be further marginalised. The same is true of the roads programme. It seems the real cash here is for uprating – for example – the M25 and the M3 – meaning that the benefits will flow to the already wealthy south instead of to areas like ours which need better road links to the A19 and A1.”
“There are also local infrastructure schemes which could have been in the programme but aren’t.”
“There is an overwhelming case for backing the physical expansion of Teesport to make it both the main import and export ‘Container Hub’ for the North, and also to capitalise on the central position it has for the future development and servicing of offshore wind farms. But of this, not a mention. Also missing is any reference to the Tees Metro scheme for a rapid and efficient rail system which could allow for the development of a 21st century mass transit network for the whole of Teesside. Instead we see a proposal for expanding London’s tube.”
“Again, we see missed opportunities and a fixation with building for the economy of the South – and not for the North.”