Category Archives: News

Long Term Rail Strategy for the North – HMF Response

The Hannah Mitchell Foundation has submitted a detailed response to Rail North’s consultation on Long Term Rail Strategy.

It is supportive of the overall approach but argues for a stronger vision for rail in the North with a directly-elected Northern Assembly overseeing rail, instead of the joint arrangements between 33 local authorities. It wants to see a not for dividend social enterprise running the North’s rail services, with profits recycled back into the business, providing improved facilities.

 

To read the full response, click here  LTRS Rail North HMF Response

Give rail powers to The North

 

21.45 Sunday October 20th 2013

PRESS RELEASE: (immediate)

The North needs a better, publicly-owned and accountable, railway

The Hannah Mitchell Foundation – the North’s campaign for regional devolution – has called for a major enhancement of the North’s rail network with rail services managed by a directly-elected Northern Assembly and run on a not-for-dividend basis.

In its response to the Rail North consultation on its ‘Long Term Rail Strategy’ the Foundation has called for “a compelling vision which puts a publicly-owned railway at the heart of a new North”. It argues for a programme of electrification and line re-openings which would provide the capacity and jobs the North urgently needs and could be delivered more quickly than HS2 – and bring greater benefits.

Prof. Paul Salveson, General Secretary of the Foundation, said “We would like to see the re-opening of the Ashington Blyth and Tyne and Leamside Lines in the North-East , Skipton-Colne, Penrith – Keswick, Bradford Cross-Rail, re-opening of the  Woodhead Route (Manchester – Sheffield) and new  lines to Fleetwood and Skelmersdale. Many locations could benefit from new stations and a Northern-wide ‘new stations strategy’ is needed.” He added that “we need to be more creative in our vision for stations which should become social, business and cultural centres as well as transport interchanges”.

His views were echoed by Foundation chair Barry Winter who said that rail in The North should be democratically accountable. “Our strong view is that Rail North should, in future, be answerable to a directly-elected Northern Assembly with a transport committee comprising elected members working closely with an experienced executive team. Rail North, with its 33 member authorities, each with their own agenda, demonstrates the need for a single pan-Northern elected body. Scotland has responsibility for its rail network and it has worked very well; so has Merseyside- the North as a whole should have the same.”

The Foundation argues that a new approach to rail in the North should put people before profit and point to the £108m profit made by the two Northern franchises last year, despite public subsidies totalling over £600m. “We want to see a future Northern Railways which is owned by the people of the North of England – passengers and employees – and not private shareholders whose prime concern is short-term profit, said Paul Salveson. “We think this could be achievable relatively quickly, when the current franchise ends in 2016 – and we invite interested organisations and individuals to work with us to achieve it.”  Ends/ For more information ring Paul Salveson 07795 008691

Note for editors

The Hannah Mitchell Foundation is a broadly-based campaign for Northern devolution, supported by many Northern MPs and peers. Linda Riordan (MP for Halifax) is president of the Foundation. The Foundation was founded in March 2012 to lobby for devolution to the North of England and is rapidly building up support across the North of England. Its patrons include Lord Prescott, several MPs and the grandson of Hannah Mitchell. Hannah (1871-1946) was a radical activist who was imprisoned during the agitation for women’s votes. She went on to become a popular councillor in the Newton Heath ward of Manchester. Although she had just two weeks of formal schooling she was a talented writer.

The Future Governance of England

Dr Andy Mycock, Academy for British and Irish Studies at the University of Huddersfield, writes:

“The past decade has been marked by an increased resonance in the profile of debates regarding Englishness and English political nationalism. However dispute endures amongst commentators about whether the metaphoric English nationalist ‘dog’ remains docile or has begun to bark when compared to so-called ‘Celtic’ nationalisms elsewhere in the UK. The prospect of referenda on Scottish independence and the UK’s membership of the European Union will surely intensify debates about the future of England.

Paramount to such discussions will be attempts to provide satisfactory answers to the so-called ‘English Questions’ of constitutional reform and governance and the perceived ‘Anglicisation’ of the Westminster parliament in the wake of devolution. The debate on the Future Governance of England will bring together two leading proponents who will offer alternative solutions to current English constitutional dilemmas.

Eddie Bone is currently the Chairman of the Campaign for an English Parliament (www.thecep.org.uk) and is editor of England! magazine. He has campaigned widely both radio and television for the need for a Parliament for England, arguing English democratic concerns are being ignored. He passionately believes that England needs its own parliamentary voice and to promote a positive civic nationalism that would benefit all of England.

Paul Salveson is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Transport and Logistics at the University of Huddersfield and a councillor for the Golcar ward. He is General Secretary of the Hannah Mitchell Foundation (www.hannahmitchell.org.uk). The Foundation works for a fair and prosperous North of England through devolution to local and regional government. It is non-party political and has support from a broad progressive coalition based around values of democracy, fairness, inclusivity, self-reliance, enterprise and co-operation. Paul argues the North is missing out while Scotland, Wales and London have their own devolved administrations.

The debate is sponsored by the Academy for British and Irish Studies at the University of Huddersfield and the Politics Studies Association Britishness Specialist Group. It will be chaired by Dr Andy Mycock and will allow Eddie and Paul to outline their proposals for the future governance of England. The event is free and open to all those interested in issues concerning English political and cultural nationalism.”

The debate will take place on Thursday 28th February 2013 at 4.15pm-6.15pm in The Researchers’ Hub, Peter Higgs Suite (RH1/09). To book a place, please email Angela Sprawson a.c.sprawson AT hud DOT ac DOT uk