I made it clear in my last column I was still fighting hard for our A1 to be dualled, notwithstanding the huge economic challenge faced by the Government after giving two hundred million pounds to our North Northumberland constituency in pandemic support, and subsidising around half of typical households' energy bills last winter.
That’s why the subsequent announcement from the Prime Minister was fantastic news, which I know many folk were absolutely delighted to hear.
In case you missed it, Rishi Sunak announced a redirection of funding away from the final part of HS2 and, instead, the reinvestment of every single penny in hundreds of transport infrastructure projects that will make a real difference across our nation.
In particularly great news for North Northumberland, this explicitly included the £293 million of funding I secured for this vital project, the dualling of the A1 between Morpeth and Ellingham, which has been on hold for the last year because of financial post-covid strain.
Reports earlier this year showed we have spent some £67 million of the £293 million committed for all the preparations. This means digger work can begin rapidly, so I’m pushing on your behalf for a firm timeline and further details at the earliest opportunity.
That’s not all our wider area will benefit from, with £460 million for 21 smaller road schemes across the North, including the Blyth Relief Road; a £3.3 billion road resurfacing fund for the North; £700 million to see more buses and more frequent routes in the North; £100 million shared between the North and Midlands to support contactless and smart ticketing; plus almost £4 billion spread across all six Northern city regions.
I have campaigned for this decades-awaited upgrade since I became your MP. I’ve been relentlessly in the ear of every Minister and Prime Minister – with the much-appreciated help from every constituent who has signed one of my petitions to show how strongly we feel. As ever, there is always more to do, with a final stretch of the A1 towards the Scottish border to champion and other priorities to work towards too, but this win for North Northumberland shows that this Government is listening and we are now delivering!