Prime Minister Theresa May has backed a campaign to secure £1bn of rail improvements, which would transform the North Wales and Cheshire regional economy and deliver 70,000 new jobs over 20 years.
The Prime Minister told the House of Commons that the Department for Transport would work closely with campaigners and the Welsh Government to consider what can be accomplished as part of the campaign.
The campaign – called Growth Track 360 – is being led by a cross-border alliance of business, political and public sector leaders.
If successful, it would lead to a massive boost to the North Wales, Cheshire and Wirral economies, linking them with the planned HS2 line between London and the North of England.
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The campaign is being driven by the North Wales and Mersey Dee Rail Task Force (NW&MD) and has the backing of the region’s eight local authorities, the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, the Mersey Dee Alliance, the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, the North Wales Business Council and the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce.
Mrs May, who was responding to a question from Vale of Clwyd MP Dr James Davies, said: “I welcome the establishment of the North Wales and Mersey Dee Rail Task Force and the work they are doing.
“The plan he mentions sets out an ambitious programme of rail improvements for the area and I’m sure they will prioritise the most promising options. The Department for Transport will continue to work closely with the Task Force and the Welsh Government to consider what can be jointly accomplished.”
Her comments were welcomed by the leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, Councillor Samantha Dixon, who said: “I welcome the Prime Minister’s support for the ambitious Growth Track 360 proposition set out by the North Wales and Mersey Dee Rail Taskforce.
“Along with my colleagues on the taskforce, I very much look forward to working with the UK Government and the Welsh Government to make the ambitious aspirations we have set out a reality as soon as possible.”
“helping to create jobs and opportunities”
Dr Davies had asked the PM during Prime Minister’s Questions if she would support the proposed improvements.
He said it would help unlock the true potential of the North Wales Mersey Dee economic region, and ensure the area benefits fully from being an integral part of the Northern Powerhouse – connected to the rest of the country via the proposed HS2 hub at Crewe.
Speaking later, Dr Davies said: “I will continue to champion rail improvements to North Wales as they form a key role in enhancing the local economy and helping to create jobs and opportunities in our towns such as Rhyl.”
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