Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group and Leader of the Opposition on Oldham Council, has condemned the Government’s recent decision to give a further £350 million bail out to the London Crossrail project whilst continuing to deny money to complete much-needed rail infrastructure projects in the North of England.
Councillor Sykes, who also serves as Oldham’s representative on Transport for Greater Manchester, said: “The cost of the Crossrail project in central London has gone up yet again to £15.4 billion and it is way behind schedule, yet this Government continues to find more and more money to bail it out.”
“When it comes to rail services there is a distinct North-South divide,” he added. “Northern Rail services are a farce – our passengers have to travel packed like sardines in old carriages pulled by inefficient, polluting diesel trains, whilst paying a fortune in fares and there is no guarantee that their expected train will even turn up.”
Councillor Sykes stated: “There is no doubt in my mind that the North continues to be short-changed by a Government that spends five times as much money on rail projects in London as it does in the whole of the North of England. This money would be much better invested on electrifying the railway line between Manchester and Leeds and buying some modern rolling stock.”