George Osborne
Image Source: mrgarethm
Nick Hill

Budget 2016: Government to help fund HS3 and Crossrail 2 rail projects

In Wednesday’s budget, the Chancellor George Osborne is set to give the go ahead to Government backing for the HS3 high-speed rail link between Manchester and Leeds, as well as the Crossrail 2 scheme to connect Surrey and Hertfordshire via central London stations.

This announcement was the result of a report by The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), which claimed that “immediate and very significant investment” should be made in transport for the North of England, and that the HS3 needs “kick-starting.”

The NIC’s report came after a similar study into Crossrail 2, which called for ministers to “get on right away” with the south-west to north-east cross-London line.

With £300m expected to be allocated towards improving transport links, Mr Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse plan is set to be given a £60m boost towards the HS3 cutting journey times between Manchester and Leeds from 49 minutes to half an hour.

In addition, the Chancellor will pledge £75m to develop plans for a trans-Pennine tunnel between Sheffield and Manchester, and research new ways of improving major northern road links.

£80m is being earmarked for the second phase of the Crossrail scheme, allowing the development to reach the second phase. Transport for London will be expected to contribute the same amount to the scheme.

The route will connect Surrey and Hertfordshire via stations in central London like King’s Cross, Victoria, Chelsea and Clapham Junction.

Mr Osborne said: “With the difficulties we see in the global economy, we’ve got to make Britain fit for the future.

“Now is the time us to make the bold decisions and the big investments that will help us to lead the world in infrastructure, and create jobs, push up living standards and boost our productivity for the next generation.”

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin added: “We know that good transport doesn’t just help get people around, it helps them get on.

“The National Infrastructure Commission has rightly identified these projects as transformational schemes that have the potential to further strengthen our economy. This is a major step forward for the Northern Powerhouse and Londoners alike.”

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