Government announces further cash boost for trams

Image: iStock

Tram services in the North and Midlands will continue to benefit from government funding, with up to a further £67.8 million available to keep essential services running for communities, the government has announced.

Outside London, more than 119 million journeys are taken by light rail or tram each year, underlining their value to communities across the North and Midlands. Usage has dropped since the start of the pandemic, which has had a significant impact on revenues, meaning local authorities and operators would have struggled to maintain services without government intervention.

The funding announced, alongside three previous rounds of funding, will continue to help ease the financial burden on local authorities and operators, ensuring these vital northern services can continue running safely.

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Local authorities and operators in Sheffield, Tyne and Wear, Nottingham, the West Midlands, Manchester and Blackpool are set to receive up to £35.4 million over the next 12 weeks. Up to a further £32.4 million will then be available, subject to a government review informed by local authorities’ plans to move networks onto a more financially sustainable footing, up to the end of March 2021.

Light Rail Minister Baroness Vere said: “Trams serve as a vital link for communities in the North and Midlands – whether it’s to get to local shops, school or work, we know many people rely on these services every day.

“That’s why we’re continuing to fund services so that they can operate safely during the pandemic. Passengers across the North and Midlands will continue to have access to the services they need.”

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Credit: Gov.co.uk

This latest commitment brings the total funding provided for light rail to over £160 million since the start of the pandemic, outlining the government’s commitment to keep services running for those who need them.

It’s another instance of the government’s support for transport infrastructure in the North, helping to protect and level up the region’s transport capabilities to provide people with more frequent, better connected and higher-quality journeys.

Further recent investment includes committing £42 million to upgrade the A630 between Rotherham and Sheffield, as well as starting work on the £51 million A19 upgrade near Sunderland 6 months ahead of schedule. The government has also launched the Northern Transport Acceleration Council to speed up the delivery of Northern transport projects.

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Shannon Butcher

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