Truss pledge on light railway and mental health funding

Truss pledge on light railway and mental health funding

SECRETARY of State for International Trade Liz Truss trumpeted a potential new light rail system linking Dewsbury and the Spen Valley to Bradford

The Tory minister spoke exclusively to The Press about the plans during a visit to Dewsbury on Wednesday. 

The Conservatives have pledged that under a future Tory government, £4.2billion would be spent on public transport across the UK. 

Ms Truss said: “We need to better connect West Yorkshire, and Dewsbury will be a key part of that. 

“£25million is going into Dewsbury through the Towns Fund and we can announce that more local transport in West Yorkshire will soon be available, including a light-rail system for Dewsbury.” 

Officials from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority have been looking into the viability of a scheme for more than a year.

It aims to develop designs for an advanced urban transit system for the Leeds City Region, that could be delivered by 2033. 

Maps for the network show routes extending into North Kirklees. One  line goes west into south Bradford and then south into Cleckheaton, Heckmondwike and Dewsbury.

The route of the Spen Valley Greenway, a former railway line, could be used for the Kirklees section, to run from Mirfield up to Low Moor station in the south of Bradford.

Ms Truss also visited the town hall with parliamentary candidate Mark Eastwood to hear about the work being done by mental health support group, Take Ten. She lent her full support to Mr Eastwood, who faces a tough battle against Labour candidate Paula Sheriff, Dewsbury’s MP since 2015. 

“Dewsbury is a very close race and we need to make sure that we get Mark in, because he’ll be a brilliant MP for the area,” she said. 

“But we also need to make sure we get a Conservative majority to get Brexit done and get on with all the really important things that we want to do.” Ms Truss took the opportunity to praise Dewsbury mental health support group Take Ten, which has recently been nominated as local fundraiser of the year in the Yorkshire Choice Awards.

She said: “I think community groups do something that government can’t necessarily do, which is providing that local word-of-mouth, one-to-one, peer support and I congratulate the ladies who have founded this organisation. 

“They have created something really positive out of what has been a really difficult experience for many of the people who come to the group.” 

Ms Truss maintained that a Tory government would “put £33billion into a properly-funded health service” in order to help those struggling with mental health issues.

Candidates contesting the Dewsbury and Mirfield seat are: Simon Cope (Green), Mark Eastwood (Conservative), Philip James (Brexit Party), John Rossington (Lib Dem), Sir Archibald Earl ‘Eaton Stanton (Official Monster Raving Loony Party) and Paula Sherriff (Labour).

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