Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Region Is the Loser with No New Plans; Statement 'Shows Bias Yet Again' INFRASTRUCTURE

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Region Is the Loser with No New Plans; Statement 'Shows Bias Yet Again' INFRASTRUCTURE

Article excerpt

Byline: Adrian Pearson

THE North East was the UK's biggest loser as the Treasury announced there would be no new rail or road projects for the region as part of the pounds 5bn infrastructure pay out.

Across the country 40 projects were handed cash, many for the first time. In the North East the region was told there would be cash for the Tyne and Wear Metro upgrade, the third time the chancellor has highlighted the scheme in two years.

But the money, thought to be around pounds 4m, will only replace existing council contributions, and is not expected to increase the overall pounds 350m Metro refurbishment award.

The Treasury said the electrification of the trans-Pennine railway through Yorkshire and into Manchester would benefit Newcastle.

There was also cash for port work in Teesside. Despite money being found for new road improvements elsewhere there was no cash for the A19 or the A1 Western bypass, further capacity work on the East Coast Main Line or infrastructure cash to prepare the banks of the River Tyne to host further wind turbine manufacturing jobs.

Last night South Tyneside Council leader Iain Malcolm said the Chancellor had not done enough for Tyneside.

He said: "The statement demonstrates yet again a southern bias from this Tory-led Government. We know that this region needs to see long term improvements to the Silverlink junction otherwise traffic tail-backs will move from the Tyne Tunnel to Cobalt business Park as traffic increases.

"Business is telling us that is a major priority for our region's economic success, but the hancellor has simply ignored our representations. "We now need to examine whether the small amount of funding given to the North Eastern local enterprise partnership may be channeled into a big infrastructure project to demonstrate our commitment to working with the business community and tackling the infrastructure problems on the A1 and at Silverlink. …

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