THE Government has claimed that ‘millions of people in the West Midlands’ will benefit from plans to use re-allocated HS2 money to ‘revolutionise transport, drive economic growth and transform communities’. 

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and transport secretary Mark Harper will confirm today (Monday, February 26) that the West Midlands will receive a boost of almost £1.2 billion from April 2025 through the Local Transport Fund to improve the transport connections.

They say the new investment – made possible by reallocated HS2 funding – will deliver an ‘unprecedented long-term funding uplift across the region’ and is the first fully devolved transport budget of its kind for smaller cities, towns and rural areas. 

Mr Sunak 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 people are heard when decisions are made on where this funding goes and how this funding is spent.

He said: “We have a clear plan to level up our country with greater transport links that people need and deliver the right long-term change for a brighter future.

“Through reallocating HS2 funding, we’re not only investing almost £1.2 billion directly back into our smaller cities, towns and rural areas across the West Midlands, 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 new investment is specifically for communities outside City Regions.

Smaller cities, towns, villages, and rural areas all across the West Midlands, from Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire to Worcestershire and Warwickshire, will all receive a share of almost £1.2 billion.  

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. 

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.

The government will support local authorities and hold them accountable for the delivery of their projects. 

Transport secretary Mark Harper said: “This almost £1.2 billion investment is truly game-changing for the smaller cities, towns, and rural communities across the West Midlands, and is only possible because this Government has a plan to improve local transport and is willing to take tough decisions like cancelling the second phase of HS2.  

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