If the North is serious about ‘Crossrail for the North’ then its business and political leaders need to get serious about campaigning for this vital project. And it needs to happen now.
The North is in serious danger of being totally outmanoeuvred by London’s political campaigning and media lobbying.
Last week, according to the London Evening Standard, “Business leaders today called on the Government to prioritise Crossrail 2 as a project of “national importance”. More than 70 directors and chief executives of London’s top firms wrote to Chancellor Philip Hammond and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. After failing to mention London’s proposed north-south rail link in his Budget, some believe the project is being eclipsed by HS3 in the North of England. A senior partner at Ernst & Young, said: “Crossrail 2 is a priority project and it must not be delayed if the UK is to stay on course for a global future outside the EU.”
Over the following weekend, Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia argued that the new line was crucial for the capital’s growth, and Surrey County Council leader David Hodge wrote to Mr Hammond, urging him to take ‘swift and decisive action’ to launch Crossrail 2.
Yes, it is true that the Chancellor did not mention Crossrail 2 in his budget speech. But he did not mention HS3 or ‘Crossrail for the North’ either! So where was the letter from more than 70 directors and chief executives of the North’s top firms arguing that Crossrail for the North is a priority project and it must not be delayed if the UK is to stay on course for a global future outside the EU? And why were the North’s political leaders silent on this vital infrastructure project?
The plain fact of the matter is that the North needs to organise and campaign as a single economic entity if it is to secure the Government funding for ‘Crossrail for the North’. In Transport for the North we have a strong body and a clear message; this message now needs to be amplified from across the North. The North cannot rely on anything other than its own efforts making the case with facts and figures, passion and a relentless, single-minded campaign.
This week we will be writing to business leaders in the North to come together to mount the campaign for ‘Crossrail for the North’. Please contact me at email@example.com if you want to join us.
Paul Dimoldenberg, Chair, Quatro