I have warned that further delays to the electrification of the Midland Mainline between London and Sheffield will damage the economy and job prospects in the city.
Speaking in a debate in the House of Commons following rumours that the planned electrification was to be delayed indefinitely, I said:
Should there be a further delay in that investment, it will be taken as a very bad signal of the Government’s commitment to investment in northern infrastructure and to regenerating the northern economy.
When this scheme was last delayed, the Transport Secretary came to the House of Commons and pledged that the work would be completed by 2023. But the Rail Minister has backtracked on that pledge. It is a complete betrayal.
Electrification would deliver additional services, improved journey times, greater reliability, lower operating costs and a huge reduction in carbon emissions. It would be a huge boost to the economy and jobs in Sheffield. We cannot accept any delays.