Despite all their talk, and all their taxes, Labour delivered a very poor deal for transport in the North West during their 13 years in power. Too many cities were unable to develop their local transport networks. Important transport hubs were held back and the daily experience for many of the travelling public was unpleasant, difficult and complex.
It is an outrage that two of our major cities – Liverpool and Manchester – whose economic fortunes are increasingly close – did not have an electrified rail link. Our Government is putting that right.
The need for a second Mersey crossing – again, the subject of many previous studies and reports – also has the green light, having been delayed by Labour.
Our Regional airports – such as Blackpool, Liverpool, Carlisle and, of course, Manchester – are vitally important in the work to rebalance our economy, not only between public and private sector but also between North and South. So many potential investors tell me that easy access to an airport is one of the key factors when looking to relocate.
Now, I cannot talk about transport in the North West and not mention the importance of shipping to Liverpool and the wider region. The maritime industries in Merseyside were facing a massive bill for backdated Port Rates by the outgoing Labour Government. Not anymore. Our Government recognises how this industry has the potential to grow – helped by the exciting plans by Peel Holdings for new development in Wirral and Liverpool.
I was among the first to also ask our Government to review Labour’s refusal to allow Liverpool to develop a cruise market. Perhaps it was a coincidence, but a few days after my call appeared in the Liverpool Daily Post, the city’s Labour MPs tabled an EDM on the same subject.
The city, with its World Heritage Waterfront, and global brand, has the potential to be one of Europe’s leading cruise destinations – that was certainly the message that I was hearing at an event I hosted with the European Cruise Council earlier this year in the European Parliament. I am delighted the Government has ordered a four week review and very much hope that we will, once again, see world famous liners bringing a steady flow of passengers and ‘Tourism Dollars’ to our region. I encourage you to support this campaign and take part in the consultation – www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/dft-2011-22
The North West is seeing the difference a Coalition Government can make. While we must all play our part to tackle Labour’s debt crisis, I am delighted that long-overdue investment in my region is now ‘on track’.
This article first appeared on the Conservative Party website here