Response to rail meeting with Ministers

"We need the Government to urgently publish the Williams Review and commit to devolution of powers and money that create meaningful local accountability"

Members of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority met with Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary and, Jake Berry, the Northern Powerhouse Minister, in Leeds this morning.

Responding to today’s written statement on Northern, Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Lead, said: “For too long, passengers have borne the brunt of Northern’s problems and today’s statement confirms the uncertain financial state of the franchise.

“Today we reiterated to the Secretary of State our view that moving from Northern to the Operator of Last Resort would secure the best outcome for passengers in the short term. We welcomed his proposal for greater local involvement in future decisions and also made clear dramatic improvements are needed on Transpennine Express services.

“The North will only have the modern reliable rail service we need and deserve with fundamental reform and investment to address the capacity crisis on the network. We need the Government to urgently publish the Williams Review and commit to devolution of powers and money that create meaningful local accountability.”

Commenting on the meeting with Ministers, Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council, said: “These were positive discussions where we took the opportunity to stress the importance of the Government committing to HS2 phase 2b and Northern Powerhouse Rail with a city centre station in Bradford alongside action to address the historic under-investment in the existing rail network.

“We highlighted our ambitious plans for local transport contained in our Transforming Cities Fund bid including the need for Government’s commitment to a mass transit system for the Leeds City Region to be delivered, for which we have asked £20 million to support development of our proposals.

Find out more about the Leeds City Region Transforming Cities Fund bid.