UNISON calls out levelling up hypocrisy over Northern transport funding

UNISON North West transport lead Vic Walsh has written to Transport for the North Chief Executive Martin Tugwell to raise concerns that the 2022 funding settlement from the Department for Transport is failing communities in the North. The full content of the letter can be seen below.

Dear Martin,

Re: Transport for the North -  Funding Settlement 2022

I am writing to you on behalf of the UNISON membership within Transport for the North, in relation to the 2022 funding settlement from the Department for Transport.

I understand that earlier this week, you alongside the TfN Chair met with Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport. At this meeting, you discussed the funding settlement for TfN for this year. However, nothing was concluded at this meeting and further discussions will now take place next week.

I appreciate that the final decision for the funding settlement rests with the Department of Transport and is ultimately out of your hands. Nevertheless, it is important that we communicate the detrimental effects the withholding of this settlement is creating on both your staff and the organisation as a whole.

As you will well understand, without our funding settlement no budgetary plans or fundamental strategic decisions can be made by TfN, leading to an underlying sense of inertia and general frustration. In normal circumstances, where a funding settlement would be agreed well in advance of the year, the organisation would be looking forward, proactively planning for successful projects and transport related initiatives that will benefit our regions. Without knowing what the agreed funding settlement will be, this is all on hold. This enforced delay and uncertainty will have a detrimental impact on the future of the north and our transport infrastructure.

In addition to the negative effects withholding the funding settlement is having on the organisation, it is also having a significant damaging impact on UNISON’s membership within the Transport for the North. Staff are rightly concerned about their future within the organisation and there is unease regarding job security. TfN employees are hard-working and loyal public servants dedicated to providing a better transport infrastructure for the north. Unfortunately, they are being held back from doing this work and treated in a very unfair and discourteous manner.

I do hope that when you meet with Mr Shapps again, as well as outlining the problems this is creating for the organisation, you will also impress upon him the detrimental impact and stresses this is causing for all staff within TfN.

Following on from the disappointing announcements this week relating to "Levelling up", which have utterly failed to address the needs of disadvantaged people and businesses in the north, the failure to agree a financial settlement with TfN is yet another example of this government letting down the people and communities of the north.

I look forward to receiving your response in relation to the contents of this letter. If you require any further information or clarification, please do not hesitate to get in touch. My contact details are listed above.

Yours sincerely

Vic Walsh

Regional Organiser

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