Bradford Breakthrough meets with Chancellor Rishi Sunak to discuss region’s “terrible” transport infrastructure
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has held out fresh hope that Bradford could win a new through railway station after a meeting with a delegation of top business leaders from the city.
More than a dozen members of Bradford Breakthrough, which represents big business and organisations across the district, along with the district’s five MPs, three Bradford peers and the President of Bradford Chamber of Commerce, met the Chancellor at the House of Commons to argue against dropping the proposed station.
The representatives argued that this proposed action was a “huge mistake” that could cost the district up to £30bn in growth and investment and 27,000 extra jobs by 2060.
During the meeting, the Chancellor committed to “looking in detail at the report from the Select Committee” reviewing the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) which visited Bradford in February and he invited the delegation to set up a follow-up meeting with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
Breakthrough’s chief executive Dr Trevor Higgins told Mr Sunak that some years ago the district’s Parliamentarians had agreed to put aside their political differences to work together with Breakthrough on tackling the issues that were in Bradford’s best interests to resolve.
Dr Higgins said: “Bradford’s terrible transport infrastructure was right at the top of the list and it remains there all these years later. In November 2018, we met with the then Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, who said ‘Bradford has a third world transport infrastructure that is simply not acceptable today’.
“He promised to take action but was replaced soon after, so nothing got delivered and here we are again.”
Dr Higgins continued: “We were pleased to hear of the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan, until we heard that a speedy route across the Pennines had been downgraded but, worst still, it didn’t include a through station for Bradford.
“This despite the fact that a new city-centre station on a new mainline train line connecting us to Manchester would secure £30bn in growth and investment to the district, generate £3bn in additional GVA and create 27,000 additional jobs by 2060.”
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