North East businesses set out the case for significant investment in the region's transport infrastructure during a meeting with Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport, in Newcastle (6 January).
The meeting, organised by the North East England Chamber of Commerce and hosted by law firm Womble Bond Dickinson, brought together transport operators, infrastructure providers and companies who rely on transport networks in order to do business.
Among the topics discussed was the urgent need to invest in key rail infrastructure such as HS2 and the East Coast Main Line; supporting the aims of the Chamber’s Fast Track East Coast campaign. Businesses also raised the importance of improved global connectivity to support export aspirations post-Brexit, the potential of reforms to Treasury funding models to transform investment in the region and challenges of decarbonisation.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr. Shapps said: “The Government is committed to improving infrastructure in places such as the North East as part of our drive to address the productivity challenge facing our country.
“Following the recent election, there has never been a better time for the North East to clearly state its priorities and ask for investment. I’m delighted to have made this my first ministerial visit of 2020 to hear such a passionate and unified message from an impressive group of businesses”.
James Ramsbotham, Chief Executive, North East England Chamber of Commerce, said: “I’d like to thank the Secretary of State for taking the time to visit the North East and for engaging in a constructive conversation with our members. A lack of historic investment in the region’s infrastructure in has prevented us from reaching our economic potential for far too long and we are therefore pleased to hear the commitments given by Mr. Shapps today.
“There can be no doubting the strength of feeling among our members on issues such as the East Coast Main Line, strategic road improvements or public transport. We look forward to maintaining this dialogue with Government and hope to see action on our main priorities in the near future”.