Government announces Transforming Cities fund ahead of Budget

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Fund aimed at reducing congestion and improving connectivity, while creating higher quality jobs

Ahead of the Budget, the Government has announced a £1.7bn investment in city infrastructure.

The Transforming Cities fund aims to improve connectivity, reduce congestion and bring in new technology to create ‘high-quality jobs’ and spread wealth around the country, Sky News reported.

Some £250m has already been allocated to the West Midlands.

Chancellor Phillip Hammond is expected to reveal more about how the fund will be spent in the Budget on Wednesday, November 22.

Writing in The Times, the Prime Minister Theresa May claimed the fund would help create ‘high-quality, well-paid jobs right across the country’ helping to shape ‘a stronger and fairer economy.’

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the transport fund would make it ‘quicker and easier for people to get around.’

Jonathan Bray, Director of the Urban Transport Group, commented: “Although we await details on how this new fund will work, we welcome the focus of this funding announcement on the importance of investing in transport in cities and city regions.

“Our urban economies are crucial to the success of the wider UK economy and if urban economies are to grow in an inclusive and sustainable way, then those economies need to be underpinned by modern and efficient transport networks.

“Transport networks that can get commuters into busy city centres, that can serve new housing and regeneration opportunities and that can provide much better connectivity within and between our major urban areas.

“We look forward to working with Government to ensure that this new funding focus on cities and city regions translates into improvements on the ground as soon as possible.”

RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash, commented: “As usual with these pre-budget spin operations, detail is thin on the ground over exactly what the Government is planning in these hyped-up proposals for city transport links.

“However, what we do know is that this is a Government that has scrapped key rail electrification plans, decimated rural bus services and stood back while private transport operators have axed staff and milked the British passenger for every penny they can get.  RMT will continue to fight for publicly-owned, integrated services which end the scandal of transport poverty and which put accessibility, quality and safety before private profit.”