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Julian Sturdy - Strong Voice for York Outer

Julian Sturdy

Member of Parliament for York Outer

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York Press column – Government must deliver on growth to maintain trust

York Press column – Government must deliver on growth to maintain trust

There is no point pretending last week’s heavy by-election losses do not send a serious message to the government. Defeated in both a traditionally very ‘safe’ rural West Country seat and urban West Yorkshire, my party is clearly struggling to retain public confidence across a diverse swathe of communities. My thoughts on how our leadership

Haxby Railway Station one step closer with successful Restoring York Railways bid

Following months of intense lobbying in Westminster supporting City of York Council’s bid for...

Julian backs precision breeding law to ensure food security and protect the environment

This week, Julian used the first House of Commons stage of the government’s Genetic...

York Press column – Action on Education

Every child deserves a first-class education to equip them with the skills to pursue...

Times Red Box article with Nigel Adams MP: Great British Railways should say Yes to York

May 19, 2022

This government is delivering on its commitment to level up regions such as ours. Yorkshire’s economy already has world-leading industry and a population of entrepreneurs and grafters. Yet too many of our communities punch beneath their weight and deprivation is higher than in the South. If levelling-up means anything, it is the mission to unlock this potential and unleash it to improve living standards for all our constituents.

The Queen’s Speech highlighted fresh commitments to levelling-up the UK by introducing a new Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, together with plans to improve our infrastructure, including our railways. Done properly this will mean a boost to local economies and provide more decent job opportunities for local people. Behind the scenes there is an important decision being made by the transport secretary Grant Shapps about one of the key tenets of this policy — where to establish the headquarters of Great British Railways. As local MPs, we know first-hand that basing this new symbol of national renewal in York would be a very tangible step in levelling-up the areas of Yorkshire left behind in decades of London-centric policy making.

Creating a simpler, better railway for everyone in Britain is a vision we can all share. As Britain’s railways embark on a once-in-a-generation reform, bringing together our fragmented system will mean trains running on time, and rail links restored to communities previously cut off.

York has over 150 years of unmatched railway heritage and pride — and it’s not just about our past, but our present too. Today, York hosts true pioneers in digital, signalling, railway operations and automation. Top talent would be attracted to Yorkshire and spur international investment. Siemens Mobility, Atkins, Arup, Arcadis and Mott MacDonald are just some of the companies already working in and around York. By centring GBR in York, this solid position can be developed to a truly globally competitive level.

Our railway heritage and vibrant rail industry have laid the groundwork, making York a sensible choice. York is a top destination for exploring the British railway industry, with three quarters of a million people coming every year to visit the National Railway Museum, and over 8 million tourists visiting annually.

We have rail, road, and air connections to towns and cities across the North and the rest of the United Kingdom. Edinburgh is just over two hours by train, with London an hour and 48 minutes by train. This is as well as the connections to Cardiff and other Welsh cities and towns that would enable the GBR to both connect and strengthen ties within the Union.

York’s offer to host GBR also represents good value for money for the taxpayer. The new GBR HQ would sit directly next to the station, either in the existing York rail sector campus of buildings or on the York Central regeneration site. The majority of the land is already owned by Network Rail, which makes a York GBR HQ excellent value for money.

There’s significant support from locals, too, with six in ten Yorkshire adults thinking the city is the best location for GBR’s headquarters; that’s three times the next highest-scoring choice. Seventy per cent of adults think the awarding of the headquarters to the city would be good for job creation, too, as well as the economy of Yorkshire itself.

And these opportunities can help communities who really need the jobs — communities which need to be levelled up. Around a quarter of York is listed within the country’s more deprived communities, with nearly 700 of the country’s most deprived communities in or within an hour of York. That’s 1 in 10 of the most deprived communities in the UK.

Importantly, the whole region will benefit. People in towns like Selby and Tadcaster will benefit from good-paying job opportunities that GBR would bring. With York transformed into a global centre of rail and engineering excellence, all those in Yorkshire will see the boost to prosperity.

GBR’s headquarters in York will provide a significant levelling-up opportunity for York, Yorkshire and the North. Saying #Yes2York is not only about the city itself, but about the workers, commuters, visitors, students, suppliers and residents who rely on York for jobs, education, travel and recreation. York is the only choice for the Great British Railway HQ.