£72.8m to be given to Durham public transport as cancelled HS2 funding is reallocated


£72.8m of funding has been announced for Durham County Council to upgrade public transport in the region.

The funds have been sourced from the cancelled Phase 2 of the HS2 high-speed train project, which was originally planned to connect London with Manchester, Birmingham, and Leeds via a high-speed rail line.

Phase 2 of HS2 was cancelled in October 2023, which compromised connecting the train further north of its first stop in Birmingham. £36bn was saved from this decision, the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, announced.

The £72.8m of funding given to Durham is part of a wider £4.7b of investment in local transport across the Midlands and the North. This funding is argued to be, on average, nine times more than local authorities currently receive. The North East receives some of the lowest transport spending per capita in the country.

The North East receives some of the lowest transport spending per capita in the country

The Conservative Party candidate for the City of Durham, Luke Allen Holmes, praised the decision made by the Government. He claimed that we are already seeing investment saved from HS2 in Durham, such as on filling potholes and extending the £2 bus fare cap, adding that “This additional funding will make such a difference to our local transport infrastructure which I know matters so much to our community.”

The current Labour MP for the City of Durham, Mary Kelly Foy MP, expressed her scepticism of the move, asking why the City of Durham has lost over 1.2m miles of bus journeys since 2016.

Speaking to Palatinate, she expressed that “The Tories are trying to take people in the City of Durham for fools”. She argued that the Conservatives have had over 14 years to fix the public transport and that since 2010, the Government has cut the Durham County Council budget by £250m, leaving ‘public services and infrastructure crumbling around them’. Adding that, “My constituents will see right through this – like the buses they are often left waiting for, it’s too little, too late.”

The funds will be made available to the council from April 2025.


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