Shropshire Star

Labour will aim to deliver major transport schemes 25% faster and 20% cheaper

The targets are based on the expected findings of a review into rail and urban transport infrastructure commissioned by the party.

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Construction workers for HS2 stand by a 2,000-tonne tunnel boring machine after it completing its one-mile dig under Long Itchington Wood in Warwickshire for the HS2 project

Labour has announced it will aim to deliver major transport projects 25% faster and 20% cheaper than current levels if it wins the General Election.

The targets are based on the expected findings of a review into rail and urban transport infrastructure commissioned by the party and led by former Siemens UK boss Juergen Maier.

Labour said it will “apply industry-leading best practice to major transport projects from the start”, and publish a “long-term strategy for transport”.

The party accused the Conservatives of having a “broken approach to infrastructure”, claiming delays to large schemes have reached “unsustainable levels” which are “costing the taxpayer dearly”.

It cited examples such as planning costs for the Lower Thames Crossing – a proposed new road tunnel between Essex and Kent – reaching “an eyewatering £800 million”, and the decision to scrap HS2 north of Birmingham.

Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh and Mr Maier visited Manchester Airport on Thursday to discuss options for improving rail connectivity across the North of England.

Ms Haigh said: “Levelling up has been an absolute sham under the Conservatives – and nowhere is this more apparent than the woeful state of our transport infrastructure.

“Labour is committed to tackling this from day one. We will turn the page on years of Tory waste, chaos and broken promises.

“Improving rail connectivity and capacity across the North is an absolute priority for Labour – and we will deliver value for the taxpayer while turbocharging delivery of transport projects.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh during a visit to the Hitachi rail manufacturing plant in County Durham
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh during a visit to the Hitachi rail manufacturing plant in County Durham (Owen Humphreys/PA)

“That’s how you grow the economy in every corner of the country, and deliver the transport network that modern Britain needs.”

Mr Maier said: “The North of England has borne the brunt of a series of broken promises on transport infrastructure and our economy is suffering as a result.

“It has been 10 years since a new rail line across the Pennines was promised and we’re still waiting for construction to get underway.

“The uncertainty created by chronically over-promising and underdelivering is lethal for investor and passenger confidence.

“The constant chopping and changing we have seen significantly drives up project costs, as we have seen with HS2.

“What we need instead is a long-term plan to build ambitious, economically-transformative transport infrastructure, linked to a proper industrial strategy, which delivers value for money for passengers and taxpayers.”

The Conservative Party was approached for a comment.

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