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From The Socialist newspaper, 5 February 2020

Will the North get investment and transport infrastructure?

HS2 - The second high speed line in Britain - government advert

HS2 - The second high speed line in Britain - government advert

Boris Johnson has pledged to earn the trust of working-class voters who 'lent' him their vote in the general election. One of his catchphrases is to 'level up' the Midlands and the North with increased investment earmarked for infrastructure.

After over a decade of austerity, can the Tories now be trusted by former Labour voters? Any promises given on improvements should be put in context of years of Tory neglect on transport infrastructure, which have taken their toll in these regions.

In the north of England, the average speed of trains between main cities is just 46mph. It takes longer to travel coast to coast in the North, than it takes to travel by Eurostar from London to Paris.

Tory governments have a track record of promising the earth, then failing to deliver. Past pledges of their intention to improve rail, road and bus links consistently fail to materialise.

2017 figures highlight the extent of neglect. Transport spending in London was more than all the areas of the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine combined. If the North had received the same amount for transport per person as London, then 66 billion more would have flowed our way over the past decade.

Where will the money for increases in investment come from? The HS2 high-speed rail project could cost 106 billion - more than double the estimate from five years ago.

It will take years to complete and inevitably go over budget again. It will be the working class which pays the human cost - doing exhausting work on the lowest wages and conditions the Tories and their friends in big business can get away with.

The only way to really level up the conditions of working-class people is through the fight for socialism.

The majority of those who lent their votes to Johnson can be won over by a programme which includes fighting for the nationalisation of the railways, buses and transport infrastructure projects - all under democratic workers' control as part of a planned economy.

Elaine Brunskill, South Tyne and Wear Socialist Party

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In The Socialist 5 February 2020:


News

6.5 million working poor: Fight to end low pay

Labour leadership contest and public ownership

Coronavirus exposes capitalism's weaknesses in healthcare and economy

Record dissatisfaction with democracy: capitalism's dead end

Refuges turn away 64% of women - set no-cuts budgets now!

Grenfell watch: Unions challenge 'mockery of justice'

Them & Us


Rail

Nationalise the railways: For an integrated public transport system

Expensive, overcrowded and unreliable: Renationalise the railways!

Cancel the franchise, not our trains

Will the North get investment and transport infrastructure?


What we think

'Post-Brexit' era of crisis ahead


Workplace news

Huge victory for Bromley library workers after 241 days on indefinite strike!

14 more days of university strikes over pensions, pay and conditions

500 BBC journalists' jobs under threat

Newham council tax workers' pay victory

No to academisation of east London schools!

Ealing tax office workers strike against closure


NHS

Outrageous waiting times will put lives at risk

NHS: Save stroke beds in Coventry and Warwickshire


International

Syria: Assad regime consolidates power after brutal counterrevolution

Israel/Palestine: Trump 'peace plan' promises further conflict


Campaigns

Socialist Party calls anti-austerity protest on Budget Day

Sadiq Khan "out-Tories" himself to defend tech firms' tax bonanza

Socialist Sellers

Reading Labour council: Stop privatising our leisure services

The rich fund the Tories and Blairites, so help fund the working-class fightback

Support the working-class press in 2020

Defend and fight for warm, safe housing for Samira and everyone

Alternative Burns Night success


Readers' opinion

Liverpool council: "No more cuts" - Is Joe Anderson serious?

Socialist Inbox


 

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