Transport Minister Andrew Jones MP has announced £625,000 of government funding for England’s Economic Heartland.
Speaking at the first regional Heartland conference, the Minister welcomed the Heartland initiative and emphasised the importance of local partners coming together to provide strategic leadership.
The conference – held at Silverstone on 9th March – brought together over 200 leaders from local authorities and the business community as England’s Economic Heartland Strategic Alliance took another major step forward with its work on developing a long-term transport strategy.
In opening the conference Cllr Martin Tett (Chairman of the Strategic Alliance and Leader of Buckinghamshire County Council) mapped out the scale of economic success across the Heartland but highlighted the success brought pressure on strategic infrastructure, not just transport, but also digital and utilities.
Cllr Heather Smith (Chairman of the Strategic Transport Forum and Leader of Northamptonshire County Council) set out how the Strategic Alliance was working collaboratively to develop a long term Transport Strategy and its ambition to develop a proposal to establish a statutory Sub-national Transport Body.
Cllr. Smith said: ‘The regional conference marks the start of a broader conversation across the Heartland with our businesses and communities about the strategic transport challenges we need to address. The government’s support for East West Rail and the new Expressway create a once-in-a-generation opportunity to provide new strategic transport links but our transport needs extend across the Heartland. Our Transport Strategy needs to use such initiatives to act as a catalyst for ensuring we have a transport system for the digital economy.’
In welcoming the announcement of government funding Cllr Tett said: ‘The government’s support for England’s Economic Heartland is fantastic news. The Strategic Alliance provides leadership on issues of strategic importance not just for the Heartland but the rest of the UK. The economic importance of the Heartland to the UK economy is being heard in Whitehall and we will continue to build upon the foundations laid by the Strategic Alliance.’
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “I am delighted to announce £625,000 of government funding for England’s Economic Heartland to help shape its transport priorities for the future and to help deliver the government’s housing and economic growth objectives for the Oxford to Cambridge corridor.
“Good transport links help to connect people, encourage growth and are crucial to building an economy that works for everyone. We look forward to working closely with the partnership and we want to see it speak with one voice for the benefit of everyone living, working and travelling in the region which contains some of fastest growing cities in the UK.