BUSINESS leaders in York have joined counterparts across the region in urgent calls for Government not to derail investment in trains and infrastructure in the North.

Three major Chambers of Commerce from across the North, and members of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership have all spoken out ahead of tomorrow’s Northern Transport Summit in Leeds.

In an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Northern Powerhouse Partnership calls upon Theresa May to back Northern Powerhouse Rail, which would be “transformational” for businesses in the North, driving productivity and attracting 850,000 new jobs to the region by 2050.

Signatories include Drax chief executive Andy Koss, York Data Services managing director Mark Fordyce, Minster FM managing director Bridget Davies and York College principal Alison Birkinnshaw.

The letter states, “The current poor connectivity in the North is a major obstacle to encouraging companies from growing in the region and is a barrier to inward investment.

“We urge the Government to re-state its commitment to Northern Powerhouse Rail as a matter of priority. Without it the vision for a genuine Northern Powerhouse to rebalance our country’s economy and make UK plc prosper for decades to come cannot be delivered.”

Business leaders in the North have been speaking out in the wake of moves by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to withdraw support for electrification projects across the country, favouring instead London’s Cross-Rail 2 project.

West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, along with Greater Manchester and Liverpool & Sefton have urged the Government for clarity in what they claim is “an increasingly confused area of policy”.

Gerald Jennings, of the West & North Yorkshire Chamber, said: “Our region’s businesses need to see commitment to improved east-west connectivity if the full benefits of future rail investments are to be captured.

“The ability to move people efficiently across the North increases the size of the available labour market and, in turn, builds potential for companies to grow their organisations.

“Halving the gap in economic output between the North and the UK average will make a massive contribution to national prosperity, far in excess of the investment needed. It sends out a strong message that government is serious about ensuring no part of the UK is left behind.”