Andrew Stephenson – 2021 Statement on Cutting Transport for the North Responsibilities

The statement made by Andrew Stephenson, the Minister of State at the Department for Transport, in the House of Commons on 24 November 2021.

Transport for the North is a sub-national transport body. Its statutory role, as set out in legislation, is to provide a strategic transport plan for the region and to provide advice to the Secretary of State.

Since 2016, in addition to these statutory responsibilities, Transport for the North has co-cliented the development of Northern Powerhouse Rail alongside the Department for Transport. As this important programme moves into its next, more complex, delivery stage, it is right that we have a single, clear line of accountability to the Secretary of State. This has been an important lesson learned from the delivery of other major infrastructure projects. Therefore, Transport for the North will transition from co-client to co-sponsor, continuing to provide statutory advice and to input on the strategic direction of the programme. The details of this arrangement are currently being worked out between my Department and Transport for the North.

Transport for the North’s advice was carefully considered, alongside a range of other evidence, when developing the integrated rail plan. Any changes to Northern Powerhouse Rail’s delivery does not impact Transport for the North’s statutory function, nor the level of core funding it will receive this financial year to carry out those functions. Nor does it alter the Government’s commitment to levelling up the north or the fact that the integrated rail plan commits £96 billion to improving rail infrastructure across the midlands and the north—the largest single Government investment in the history of British railways.