Mayors of Greater Manchester and Liverpool re-iterate commitment to improving links between the two cities

The current mayors of Greater Manchester and Liverpool have made delivery of an improved link between their cities a centrepiece of their re-election campaigns. 

Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram, both of the Labour Party, have promised to establish a public-private Liverpool-Manchester Railway Board to oversee the creation of a publicly operated railway in the region. 


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Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham is up for re-election in early May

A high-speed link between the two cities has been repeatedly mooted under the name of Northern Powerhouse Rail, and the proposed project received a boost last year when the government announced that some money from the cancelled HS2 project would be spent on developing plans.  

Proposed HS2 legislation which would have secured land for NPR is currently being reworked by the Department for Transport, which has also re-opened conversations around an underground station at Manchester Piccadilly. 

Burnham said the board could help create a two-stop connection for Liverpool and Manchester to Manchester Airport, the region’s major long-haul airport. 

He described the planned link as “the biggest opportunity the northwest of England will get in this century to put in place infrastructure that is on a par with London and the southeast”. 

The Greater Manchester mayor’s recently published manifesto for re-election includes a slate of policies related to the built environment, including extensions to the Metrolink tram system in Manchester. 

These would prioritise Middleton, Heywood and Stockport and building a business case for Bolton.   

On housing, Burnham committed to building 30,000 truly affordable net zero homes and to create a new multi-agency unit within the combined authority called GM Housing First. 

This unit would develop a plan to submit to the incoming Government to build 10,000 of those homes by 2028, as well as carrying out property checks when requested by renters. 

Burnham also promised to introduce a new technical education pathway, called the Greater Manchester Baccalaureate, which would be linked up with work placements with attached employers. 

He also said he would ensure that the mayoral development corporation model that has been used to regenerate Stockport town centre is available to other districts in Greater Manchester, including Bolton, where interest has been expressed for such a vehicle.