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Transport for the North: Finance

Question for Department for Transport

UIN 170563, tabled on 17 March 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the core budget of Transport for the North has been reduced from £10 million to £6 million for the financial year 2021-22 as stated in a letter from the Department for Transport to Transport for the North dated 4 January 2021.

Answered on

22 March 2021

Due to a forecast underspend and a significant build-up of reserves due to displaced activity in 2020/21, the core grant that Transport for the North (TfN) receives from the Department was set at £7 million for 2020/21 and £6 million for 2021/22. Furthermore, the Department has agreed to TfN charging £2.5 million of costs, previously from its core budget, to the Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) programme for 2021/22. As I stated in the House in the adjournment debate on this subject of 17 March, “Taking into account all the funding streams available to Transport for the North, its budget has not been reduced by 40%.”

In the 2015 spending review, Transport for the North was allocated up to £150 million to support its integrated and smart travel programme. It has utilised only £24 million in the past five years to enable the roll-out of smart ticketing throughout the north. Additionally, it incurred development, business-case and other project costs of around £10 million but was unable to produce a business case for its ambitious multi-modal projects that was acceptable to all transport operators in the north. The multi-year funding for Transport for the North’s integrated and smart travel programme was always due to expire at the end of this financial year. We are considering how best to deliver more effectively the roll-out of smart ticketing to improve passenger services throughout the region.

The launch of the National Bus Strategy on 15 March 2021 outlined our ambition to see seamless, integrated ticketing between operators and to extend this across all types of transport and all regions of the country, including the North. We will work with transport technology providers, app developers, bus operators and LTAs to ensure that any technology to support this is developed strategically, and money is not wasted on different technology solutions for different places. As rail ticketing and fares systems are updated we will also consider opportunities for facilitating integrated electronic ticketing with buses.

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