North East roads to be improved with £400million investment in Northern Powerhouse

Ten roads in the North East will be improved with funding from the Government - but it is not known if the A19 is one of them.
Ten roads in the North East will be improved with funding from the Government - but it is not known if the A19 is one of them.

Ten roads in the North East are to be improved as part of a £400million cash boost for the Northern Powerhouse.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has reaffirmed the Government's commitment to the economic drive, announcing the investment in transport links across the North of England and Midlands.

The details of which roads will be granted cash have not yet been revealed.

The Government has previously said the A19 would not be given cash to improve its safety because it is not dangerous enough.

Easington MP Grahame Morris has called for an inquiry into incidents on the stretch through the North East, which is backed by our Safe A19 campaign and supported by a petition.

Some £300 million of the funding to be announced by Mr Hammond will be used to ensure cities including Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, York and Leicester can be linked up with the HS2 high-speed rail route between London and the North.

And a further £100 million will go into local road schemes to cut congestion and unlock new sites for homes and businesses in the North.

Mr Hammond's announcement of extra cash for the Northern Powerhouse follows accusations from figures including Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham that the project has fallen off the Government's agenda since the departure of its originator George Osborne.

The Chancellor will tell the Conservative Party conference that the new money brings total transport investment in the North to £13 billion by 2020 and will "future-proof" the region's rail network.

The cash will ensure that the infrastructure is in place to link up future Northern and Midlands rail developments with HS2 and to permit future services between Liverpool and Leeds to go via Manchester Piccadilly station, he will say.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said that the road spending will fund 33 schemes, 10 in the North East as well as 13 in the North West and 10 in the Yorkshire and Humber region, with details to be announced in due course.

He added: "We know delivering junction improvements and enhancing the traffic management will give better journey times will open access to sites for housing development and employment in the North of England."

Mr Hammond will use his speech to insist that the UK economy not "broken" but "fundamentally strong".

The second day of the conference is also due to hear an update from Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke on the review he and Theresa May have undertaken of the introduction of the controversial Universal Credit.

Speaking on the fringe of the conference on Sunday, Mr Gauke indicated that he did not believe the Government's flagship welfare reform should be scrapped.

But he said he wanted more action to highlight the availability of cash advances to help new claimants tide over delays in payments of as much of six weeks while their applications are processed.