Paul Maynard welcomes Boris to launch £500m rail revival

Paul Maynard welcomed Boris Johnson to Thornton as it was announced the rail link between Poulton and Fleetwood will be restored by a Conservative government.

Paul has long campaigned for the restoration of the link, favouring a conversion to light rail as an extension of the Blackpool tramway. That's just one of the options which will be considered as part of the £500m pledge.

The announced an ambitious package, backed up by hundreds of millions of pounds of investment, to support towns and communities across the North West.

The measures announced today will build on the Government’s Towns Fund and will help local towns like Blackpool – towns that have not always benefited from economic growth in the same way as towns elsewhere in the UK. 

The package includes measures to:

  • Keep the high street open for business. Cutting business rates for shops, cinemas and pubs. The average corner shop will get a £1,400 cut in their business rates from the extension in the retail discount. Up to half a million businesses will benefit, with the discount extended to all cinemas and music venues.
  •  Save pubs and post offices. Backing community groups who want to buy their local pubs and post offices with a £150m fund and a 9 month ban on sale to other bidders.
  • Re-connect towns and villages to the rail network. With a new £500m fund to restore lines which were removed or closed to passengers by the 1960s Beeching Report - including the Fleetwood line, which could be light or heavy rail. 
  • Invest in cycling and walking. Making it easier for people to cycle and walk in the North West, improving air quality and public health. 

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister, said:“When I became Prime Minister, I was proud to give my first speech here in the North West and outline my vision for this superb region. We are committed to levelling up across Britain. This region’s vote to leave the European was a vote for change, an instruction that we will deliver on.

“We are going to invest in communities across the North West and help people put the heart back into the fantastic towns and villages you call home. We are going to get Brexit done so that we can unleash the potential of the North West. We will rejuvenate the high streets, save community assets and improve connectivity by restoring the Fleetwood and Skelmersdale lines

“But we can only do this if we end the dither, delay and paralysis in Westminster. We need a Conservative majority government which will deliver for communities across Britain – not a Corbyn-Sturgeon alliance which would expend all its energy on two more chaotic referendums.”

Paul said: "It was great to welcome Boris to Thornton and to see the warm welcome he received. It is vital we bring this rail link back into use, preferably as a modern, clean, green, high frequency tramway, boosting local connectivity and restoring links to the national rail network."