Sunak criticised for failing to deliver on key infrastructure projects

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Labour has criticised Rishi Sunak for “lots of announcements and not overmuch delivery” connected infrastructure projects, arsenic the chancellor conceded that of £7bn successful this week’s fund for expanding determination transport links, lone £1.5bn is caller money.

Rachel Reeves, the shadiness chancellor, said that portion she welcomed moves to amended transport successful cities specified arsenic her own, Leeds, she was profoundly sceptical astir what would happen, citing agelong delays and uncertainty surrounding projects specified arsenic Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2.

Asked if infrastructure announcements successful Wednesday’s fund would help, Reeves told Sky’s Trevor Phillips connected Sunday: “Let’s anticipation so. But what we spot from this authorities is tons of announcements and not overmuch delivery.

“Northern Powerhouse Rail, that would payment Leeds – and Bradford, and Manchester, and towns and cities crossed Yorkshire – was archetypal announced 7 years ago. It’s been announced 60 times since then, and there’s inactive not a azygous spade successful the ground, oregon bid connected the rails.

“It’s not bully enough. They’re going to marque much announcement this week, but what we’re sick of successful the northbound is having announcements without the transportation connected the ground.”

Interviewed earlier connected the aforesaid programme, Sunak refused to accidental whether HS2 would beryllium built successful afloat to Leeds, oregon that Bradford would beryllium connected to Northern Powerhouse Rail.

The chancellor said the metro mayors Andy Street and Andy Burnham had welcomed the announcements. He added: “So what the wealth announced yesterday was astir is astir what we telephone intracity transportation, that’s astir however bash we get radical who unrecorded successful and astir a metropolis to beryllium capable to get into the mediate of it and retired again easily.”

Challenged connected however overmuch of the £7bn for this was new, Sunak said helium had already announced £4.2bn for the “overall envelope for amended however radical get astir our large cities”, adding: “What we’ve really done is apical that up, arsenic you said, by £1.5bn, but past crucially springiness retired the allocations successful that envelope – wherever each the bits are going to go.”

Asked astir different fund announcement unveiled successful beforehand – £500m to assistance aboriginal years proviso – Sunak denied that this was a tacit acceptance that it had been incorrect for Conservative-led governments from 2010 to chopped Sure Start centres, which were focused connected this.

The caller investment, helium argued, was based connected enactment done by colleagues specified arsenic the erstwhile concern caput Andrea Leadsom connected aboriginal intervention.

Sunak said: “So what we’re announcing is backing to make a web of household hubs which are broader than the Sure Start centres, and they bring unneurotic tons of antithetic services for caller parents, and for the archetypal time, we’re going to rotation those out.”

Questioned astir the plan, Reeves rejected this argument. She said: “I would accidental to the chancellor: person you ever heard of Sure Start? Because that is what your governments, implicit the past 11 years, person cut. It’s each good and bully saying we’re going to put successful these household parks, but thousands of children’s centres and Sure Start centres that were arrogant features of our communities, peculiarly of our poorer communities, person agelong gone.

“If you hadn’t taken each that away, ideate the quality it could person made to the lives of young radical and to their parents. And this airy imitation that doesn’t adjacent instrumentality america backmost to wherever we were successful 2010, I deliberation is an insult to each those radical who made definite commencement hap successful the archetypal place.

“It truly was an enactment of criminality to rip that each up, lone to now, 11 years later, make a airy imitation of it.”