UNISON calls for real devolution on Northern transport

Public service union UNISON has today written to Transport for the North (TfN) board members to raise concerns about the Government’s commitment to devolution to the North.

UNISON North West Regional Secretary Kevan Nelson also raised concerns for the 150 staff employed by TfN and the inexcusable way they have been drip-fed information and scapegoated for the government’s repeated failure to deliver on its own rail infrastructure promises.

UNISON is calling for elected leaders who sit on the TfN board to make a firm commitment to the future of TfN and its staff, challenge the government’s misinformation and re-assert the case for renewed investment in and devolution to the north.

In the letter, UNISON North West Regional Secretary Kevan Nelson writes: "The Department for Transport already controls every aspect of funding, oversight and delivery of transport infrastructure. It is through this model that we have seen long delays to schemes like the Transpennine rail upgrade, an investment that has universal support in the North and that would unlock and enable growth and jobs across our cities, towns and villages.

"What the North needs isn't another committee run and directed by the government, from Whitehall, re-announcing schemes that it has already spent a decade failing to deliver. It needs real investment and real devolved powers, to create and sustain jobs in the North.

"Our members within TfN are dedicated public servants, with a deep professional and personal commitment to improve public transport across the North. To be treated in such a manner where they are drip fed information via the national media and made to be scapegoats for systemic failings entirely beyond their control is inexcusable."

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