Mersey Gateway team ‘strongly encouraged’ by Chancellor’s comments on the project
Mersey Gateway bosses have said they are ‘strongly encouraged’ by comments from Chancellor George Osborne MP that Mersey Gateway was an “incredibly important project that I am really keen to see go ahead”.
Speaking on the BBC North West’s Politics Show yesterday (Sunday 3 October), Mr. Osborne singled out Mersey Gateway adding: “That is something I’m really number crunching now to make sure that we’re in a position to say something positive. I want to invest in the big infrastructure projects, the big investments that are going to help our economy grow in the regions, not just in the south east of England.”
Cllr Rob Polhill, Leader of Halton Borough Council, which is promoting the project, said: “These are very encouraging comments from the Chancellor. We’ve always been confident that there is a very real need for this project, and it’s good to hear the Chancellor shares that view. We’re looking forward to the Spending Review and hoping that the government will be able to confirm funding to help deliver this vitally important project for our region.”
Halton Borough Council recently laid out its case for a new bridge over the River Mersey in a submission to the Government’s Spending Review.
The council and its partners believe the proposed new bridge is in a strong position to meet Government’s spending criteria, as it will:
- be over 70% funded by the private sector
- bring benefits 4 times greater than the cost
- mean an estimated 4,640 new jobs through direct employment, regeneration activity and inward investment, and
- generate a conservative estimate of £61.9 million a year in Gross Value Added from the new jobs by 2030.
The aim of the Mersey Gateway Project is to build a new six lane toll bridge across the River Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes. The Silver Jubilee Bridge will also be tolled as part of the project. It was placed on hold on 10 June, along with all major transport schemes across the country, by the new coalition government.
It is now being considered as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review, the outcomes of which are due to be reported in parliament on 20 October.