It’s no surprise that across the north there is exasperation at all this especially when, with a £50bn hole in public finances, people in Bradford are told they can’t have £500m spent on a vital interchange that benefits the entire North, while just one station on London’s Elizabeth Line, Bond Street, cost almost £1bn alone. That’s a lot of money so people in the capital can nip into Selfridges more easily.

Years of broken promises have galvanised northern communities

Scotland meanwhile has its own issues. Scotrail has been dogged by strikes and a current overtime dispute which means a curtailed timetable. There were no trains anywhere after Scotland’s recent rugby match against Australia, leaving much of the 60,000 crowd seeking an alternative way home. Plans to improve the rolling stock and de-carbonise parts of the network are due to come out next year but as Scotrail is now owned by the Scottish Government, will some of that funding be at risk if the UK Government’s cost cutting plans reduce the Block Grant to Scotland?

The one positive sign for those in the north of England is that there is a concerted cross party campaign calling for transport improvements. Whether it’s Teesside’s Tory Mayor Ben Houchen or Labour Mayors Tracy Brabin and Andy Burnham in West Yorkshire and Manchester respectively, they are speaking with one voice.

Councils and other bodies have had enough of rhetoric and broken promises and are also working together to keep the pressure on. With a General Election in the offing and crucial Red Wall seats up for grabs, can a PM who represents a northern constituency really afford to ignore them?

While all of this impacts on economic development, it also affects proposals to tackle climate change. Commitments to Net Zero targets seem to have taken a bit of a hit recently as the energy crisis bites but one proven and straightforward way of helping get there is by reducing car journeys. It’s unlikely that the fate of Bradford Interchange will feature in talks as world leaders gather in sun kissed Sharm El-Sheikh for COP27 and make all sorts of nice pledges, but it’s a real life example of something that can, and should, be done.

John Penman, Partner