People in Lancashire are to 'benefit from better public transport, reduced congestion and upgraded bus and train stations', as the Government is to reallocate funding from HS2 to 'revolutionise transport, drive economic growth and transform communities'. 

Today (Monday, February 26), Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Transport Secretary Mark Harper have confirmed that the North West will receive a £1.48 billion boost from April 2025 through the Local Transport Fund to improve the transport connections that people rely on every day across smaller cities, towns, and rural areas. 

Lancashire is due to be allocated £494,400,000 of that sum, Blackburn with Darwen £116,911,000, and Blackpool £120,824,000.

The new investment, announced as part of Network North, is said by the government to deliver a long term funding uplift across the region over seven years. 

It’s the first transport fund of its kind targeted at smaller cities, towns, and rural areas.

Over the seven years as a whole this funding is said to be  on average at least nine times more than these local authorities currently receive through the local integrated transport block, which is the current mechanism for funding local transport improvements in their areas.

At Cabinet today, the Prime Minister is expected to call on Ministers and MPs to hold local authorities to account to ensure the funding is used appropriately and that the voices of local communities are heard when decisions are made on where this funding goes and how this funding is spent. 

This funding prioritises the forms of transport that matter most to people and will deliver for future generations – driving jobs, growing the economy, and levelling up the country.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: "Through reallocating HS2 funding, we’re not only investing nearly £1.5 billion directly back into smaller cities, towns, and rural areas across the North West, but we are also empowering their local leaders to invest in the transport projects that matters most to them - this is levelling up in action.  

“The Local Transport Fund will deliver a new era of transport connectivity. This unprecedented investment will benefit more people, in more places, more quickly than HS2 ever would have done, and comes alongside the billions of pounds of funding we’ve already invested into our roads, buses and local transport services across the country.” 

The funding will be made available from 2025 to give local authorities enough time to develop their funding plans and prepare to hit the ground running to start delivering them as early as possible. 

This investment will give local authorities funding to:

  • Building new roads and improving junctions 
  • Installing or expanding mass transit systems 
  • Improving roads by filling in potholes and better street lighting for personal safety  
  • Improving journey times for car and bus users by tackling congestion 
  • Increasing the number of EV chargepoints 
  • Refurbishing bus and rail stations 
  • Improving streets so they are safer to walk children to school and increasing accessibility for all. 

Councils will work with local MPs and will be held to account by the government as well as their communities to make sure the money is spent promptly and effectively. 

Local councils will be expected to publish their delivery plans for which projects they wish to invest in.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: "Today’s £1.48 billion investment is truly game-changing for the smaller cities, towns, and rural communities across the North West, and is only possible because this Government has a plan to improve local transport and is willing to take tough decisions like reallocating funding from the second phase of HS2.  

“This new funding boost will make a real difference to millions of people in the North West, empowering local authorities to drive economic growth, transform communities, and improve the daily transport connections that people rely on for years to come.” 

Metro Mayors in Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region will benefit from more than £1.7 billion of City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements funding from now until 2027 and have been allocated an additional £4 billion from 2027 until 2032 to improve transport across the region, funded in part from reallocated HS2 funding. 

Lord Patrick McLoughlin, Chair of Transport for the North, said: “We welcome this funding for our local transport areas as a sign of progress towards transforming the north to a more inclusive, sustainable and better-connected region. By having greater clarity on the funding that’s available, and consolidating funding streams, it helps remove inertia and accelerates delivery on the ground. 

“TfN look forward to working with government and local leaders, because we know that the travelling public will get better results the more locally the decisions are made on how those services should be provided.”