£18m extraordinary funding awarded to drive TfGM’s recovery from pandemic

Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, has confirmed an extra £18m of funding to help Greater Manchester’s services recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

But, while welcoming the financial boost, Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, said government funding falls short of what is required, and called for more support.

The extraordinary funding settlement for Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) will enable the city’s transport network to operate and recover from the impact of the pandemic while considering value for money for all taxpayers. The funding will support Greater Manchester’s extensive public transport network in particular.

Set to last until the end of March 2024, the additional funding follows more than £400m provided for Greater Manchester’s local transport network through numerous transport schemes since March 2020.

This is in addition to £1.07bn through City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements (CRSTS), £39.7m for active travel schemes and £19.87m through Levelling Up Funds for transport.

Mark Harper said: “Since the start of the pandemic, the Government has repeatedly stepped up to support Greater Manchester and the Bee Network, providing over £400m to protect and improve services.

“We’re determined to see a thriving local transport network in this great city and, while our support package must be fair to taxpayers, I am confident this additional extraordinary settlement will help operators to recover from the pandemic while Transport for Greater Manchester follows through on its promise to reach financial sustainability.”

The funding is being provided on the condition that TfGM outlines a pathway to financial sustainability as committed to in the Trailblazer Devolution Deal, which strengthened the Mayor’s powers on transport in Greater Manchester.

TfGM currently faces a very distinct set of circumstances driven principally by the way that Metrolink funding is structured and the city region’s unique local funding commitment to the Greater Manchester Transport Fund (GMTF).

Andy Burnham, said: “Any extra support for our public transport system as it recovers from the pandemic is, of course, welcome and we appreciate the Secretary of State’s efforts in securing this.

“This said, the total funding offered, which includes the extra £18m, represents less than half of the shortfall we face and is far less generous in percentage terms than the settlement offered to London.

“If the Government is to deliver on its commitment of London-style public transport outside of London, it has to put funding behind it and ensure all parts of the country receive fair and equal treatment.”

He added: “We will continue to press ahead with our plans to introduce the Bee Network in September but have asked the Secretary of State for more funding flexibility to deal with the challenges we face.”