WHEN it comes to levelling up the north it is usually wise to pay close attention to deeds and little to words.

For over a decade, local campaigners have been trying to persuade successive governments to re-open the Skipton to Colne link and to use the Hellifield line for passenger travel. Both schemes are remarkably cheap. Both remain in limbo after the recent rail review. Once again we have promises of possible future action instead of firm commitments.

People in Bradford have been putting up with two squalid little stations that aren’t connected to anywhere at speed. They were planning much of their future regeneration around promises of a fast new line that would link them up with Manchester and Leeds and significantly improve travel times for Craven people heading to Manchester. That line has now been cancelled.

In 2019-20 spending on rail infrastructure in London was £882. In Yorkshire and the Humber it was £309. This wasn’t a one off. The situation has been going on for years and the recent cancellation of the most important elements of the Northern Powerhouse Rail project means it will continue into the future.

In other words, far from using tax revenues from the south to level up the north, the reverse is happening. Money is being transferred from the north to the south. That is a very strange idea of how best to level up the country.

Cllr Andy Brown

Green Party