MP Raises Beverley-York Rail With Chancellor

MP Raises Beverley-York Rail With Chancellor
MP Raises -York Rail With Chancellor

MP Graham Stuart met with Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to discuss the local economy and employment opportunities for his constituents.

Top of the agenda was the proposal to reinstate the direct rail route between Beverley and York, which its proponents argue would boost east-west connections from the East Riding to North Yorkshire and beyond, while also improving resilience and freeing up capacity along the existing westward route via Selby.

The proposal was recently successful in the third round of the ’s Restoring Your Railway Fund, which has granted it up to £50,000 of government funding to create an outline business case for the route’s reinstatement.

The business case will investigate the pros and cons of the rail line, modelling things like passenger demand, its environmental impact, how it interacts with the rest of the network and the economic benefits of improving connections between Hull and York.

Graham commented;

“I think it’s right that two thriving cities like Hull and York should have a quicker rail connection. At the moment it takes over an hour to travel west via Selby, and the route actually goes past York before turning back on itself to head north. Otherwise, you have to drive up the congested A1079 and run the risk of getting stuck behind farm traffic.

“The business case will also look into the possibility of making the line capable of carrying freight, which could link into the new Humber Freeport and East Coast Cluster. Both of these will create thousands of skilled jobs, and a new rail line will spread those employment opportunities up into the East Riding.

“Given the size of the scheme, I wanted to confirm with the Chancellor that the Government is serious about levelling up parts of the country outside of London and the South East, and invest in giving us the kind of transport links they’re used to in that part of the country.

“It’s only a business case at this stage, though, so people don’t have to worry about the line being built overnight. The process will consider who the scheme would have a negative impact on and of course try to mitigate this wherever possible.”

The meeting was also a chance to discuss issues affecting the local economy and came ahead of the latest claimant count figures which were released by the ONS. The data revealed that 3% of residents between the ages of 16-64 were claiming some form of unemployment benefit, compared to 4.6% of the wider UK population.

There are just over 1,700 claimants in Beverley and Holderness, which is 425 higher compared to March 2020, before the pandemic hit. However, 20 fewer people are claiming welfare payments compared to last month.

The national claimant count more than doubled to over 2.5 million at the start of the pandemic, but research from independent think-tank the Resolution Foundation estimated that only around half of this rise was due to newly unemployed people, with the remaining rise accounted for by improvements to Universal Credit and people earning less income than normal as a result of illness or reduced demand.

Graham added;

“It was good to discuss what impacts the Government’s furlough and self-employment support schemes had on my constituency as well as what help’s available now for people still looking for a job.

“There’s the Kickstart, Restart and JETS Schemes all available for those struggling to find employment and then there’s the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, which offers a completely free college course to any adult without an A-level or equivalent.”

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