Tory North East transport consultation a 'sham' – Geoff Hoon

Tories Real Transport Plan for the North East Is Revealed


Labour Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon has today blasted the Tories' Northern transport consultation as a 'sham' and calls on the Tories to come clean on their spending plans.


Tory spending plans would put at risk money for the Tyne and Wear Metro, bus services in the Tees Valley and the upgrade of the A1 between Dishforth and Barton – a key road link to the region.


Labour's Secretary of State for Transport, Geoff Hoon MP said:

"The Tories' Northern transport consultation is a sham. It is all very well writing a wish list of projects but you need to put funding behind them to make them happen.

"How can they consult on transport when they plan to reduce spending and refuse to say if this includes the North?”

"David Cameron has plans to cut the transport budget. These Tory cuts threaten existing transport services and infrastructure in the North East.”

"For all their warm words the Tories oppose the fiscal stimulus that is improving transport infrastructure now to provide jobs and keep the economy moving. “

"David Cameron's u-turn on backing Labour's spending plans means many vital transport improvements planned for the North would be at risk under a Tory government. “

"The Tories need to come clean and tell people what their spending plans actually mean rather than launching hot-air consultations that promise the world but will actually do nothing to help."


Labour’s Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell said;

“The Tories last year said they would have a review into North East transport issues and then this year they said they would set up a Commission. These are just empty words that hide their real agenda of actually taking money away from badly needed North East transport projects, including improvements to the Tyne and Wear Metro. This from a party whose big idea for the North East is a high-speed rail link that stops at Leeds.”




- If the Conservatives were in office on April 1st 2009, David Cameron has described how Shadow Ministers would be ordered simply to walk into departments and order spending increases to be restricted to one per cent in real terms:

“Now what I would do, let's say there's an election April this year, I'm free, election April this year, I'd immediately instruct my ministers to go into their departments and say instead of the increase of perhaps 2% real terms you're expecting, it's a 1% real terms increase”
David Cameron, Press conference, January 5 2009


- The Conservatives have not provided any detailed analysis of how these cuts would be made. If the Conservatives were to restrict increases in these departments to one per cent in real terms, as David Cameron has called for, it would require cuts of £840 million from the Department for Transport budget.


- The impact of cuts of £840 million from the transport budget would be to threaten key local transport projects that are under consideration or planned for the future. Until the Conservatives say where their cuts would fall, local projects like the gating and new ticketing machines for the Tyne and Wear Metro and the Tees Valley Bus Network, and major road projects such as the upgrade of the Barton to Dishforth section of the A1 in North Yorkshire are under threat.