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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Anger growing as campaigners issue fresh demand for ‘Crossrail for the North’

  • Public, politicians, businesses and others urged to sign petition demanding ‘Crossrail for the North’.
  • IPPR North figures released yesterday show North would have seen £59 billion more for transport if funded same as London.
  • North ‘not going away’ as Mayor Burnham promises to work with MPs on further scrutiny and as IPPR North organises ‘summer of taking back control’.

Campaigners today launch a new petition demanding a new high-speed ‘Crossrail of the North’ to connect Northern cities.

Think-tank IPPR North calls on residents, charities and businesses in the North and those across the UK who support northern investment to:

The news comes as the transport secretary backed plans for Crossrail 2 in London while in recent days has rowed back on electrifying lines in the North and Midlands and rebuilding Manchester Piccadilly.

Mr Grayling defended the u-turn on electrification by saying these were relatively small changes.

IPPR North urges him to prove this by committing to a Crossrail for the North alongside London’s Crossrail 2.

Figures published yesterday by IPPR North showed that if the North had received the same amount of transport spending per head as London has then it would have received £59 billion more over the last decade.

Speaking on Newsnight, Mayor Andy Burnham suggested the government may have released the news over the summer to avoid parliamentary scrutiny.

Mr Burnham added that he was calling on MPs in Greater Manchester to urgently scrutinise the government as parliament returns.

IPPR North’s petition will help support these calls by setting out a positive case for a Crossrail for the North.

Previous IPPR North research has shown how this could be financed and funded, including by Northern businesses as London has with Crossrail 2.


Ed Cox, director of IPPR North and who launched the 38 Degrees petition, said:

“The government says it has the financial backing of London businesses but while the capital can help broker this through Transport for London, the North lacks such powers.

“If the government is going to stand by this line it must now back souped-up investment powers for Transport for the North or this will be revealed to be a flimsy lie.

“Our summer of taking back control will bring businesses and the public together to make the government take the issue seriously and commit fresh powers and funding to the North and other left-behind regions.”


Luke Raikes, IPPR North senior research fellow and who uncovered the £59 billion northern under-investment figure, added:

“Successive governments have under-invested in the North which has led to poorer economic performance and lower productivity. 

“We need to change this situation urgently if we’re really going to create a ‘country that works for everyone’, as the government promised repeatedly.

“The government must also stop talking of yet more feasibility studies and instead plan on getting spades in the ground ASAP.

“If the government can find the magic money tree for the DUP and for London, it can find the catch-up cash for the North of England too.”




For more information contact Ash Singleton,, 07887 422 789.

To arrange a media interview please feel free to contact our spokespeople directly regarding logistics:

  • Ed Cox, director, IPPR North,, 07961 979 262.
  • Luke Raikes, senior research fellow and transport lead, IPPR North,, 07794 027 975.


The petition URL is available here:

IPPR North is the progressive think-tank for the North of England, developing bold ideas for a stronger economy and great public services to really take back control in the North.