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MPs pressure chancellor for A47, Norwich in 90 and Ely junction budget pledges

The Norfolk Conservative MPs with chancellor Sajid Javid. Pic: Elizabeth Truss.

The Norfolk Conservative MPs with chancellor Sajid Javid. Pic: Elizabeth Truss.

Elizabeth Truss

Pressure for Norfolk to get a good deal in next month’s budget has been applied to chancellor Sajid Javid, with calls for cash to bring better roads and rail services.

Norfolk's Conservative MPs have written a letter to the chancellor of the exchequer, outlining how investment is needed to bring about further improvements to the A47 and to the region's train services.

The letter follows a meeting the eight MPs had with Mr Javid last week.

It calls for a commitment over the A47 - both in terms of getting work started on the £300m of work which has been promised and in getting money for further improvements, such as the dualling of the Acle Straight.

Another of the issues raised is the knotty problem of the Ely North rail junction. Lines from the north, south, west and east all meet at that point.

A feasibility study two years ago found improvements would enable more frequent services to run on the King's Lynn to London and Norwich to Cambridge lines, bringing an expected £1bn annual boost to the region's economy.

The government announced last year it is keen to develop the Ely North scheme and develop a more detailed business case for how the work might be carried out.

But the letter urges the chancellor to make a solid commitment to pay for the enhancements which would be needed.

Elizabeth Truss, South West Norfolk MP, said: "I have been pushing for the Ely North upgrade since 2011 in order to secure half hourly services on the Kings Lynn to London line.

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"Network Rail need to focus on this original remit - to provide a breakdown of costings - as I want to move forward with the business case."

And the MPs also highlighted how important it is to make improvements which would enable more Norwich in 90 services.

While Greater Anglia last year launched the first of its 90-minute services from Norwich to the capital, millions would need to be spent to replace Trowse swing bridge before more frequent services could run. The letter seeks a commitment to such infrastructure improvements.

The letter also stresses the importance of ensuring Norfolk benefits from better broadband and mobile coverage.

James Wild, North West Norfolk MP, said: "Both the prime minister and the chancellor came to Norfolk during the general election and heard directly about the need to level up our county.

"Now is the time to invest in the road, rail, and digital connectivity which will unleash the huge potential of the people and businesses in this area."

The CBI is also calling on the chancellor to invest in the east, demanding outline investment for infrastructure projects like the A47 and improvements to the Ely North Junction.

Richard Tunnicliffe, CBI regional director for the East of England, said: "At the start of this new decade, firms are feeling more optimistic and want to invest.

The CBI is urging the government to put all UK regions, at the heart of the upcoming budget. Our budget requests will create jobs, growth and investment throughout the East of England.

"This historic budget offers the chance to turn rising optimism into a surge in investment across the UK. Backed by a pro-enterprise budget for skills, infrastructure and innovation, business can help kickstart a new decade of UK growth and job creation."

The budget is on March 11.


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