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The North East England Chamber of Commerce has invited Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to visit the region and see at first hand the impact of the huge transport funding imbalance between the North East and London.

The letter, signed by both Chamber President John McCabe and chief executive, James Ramsbotham, painted a stark picture of how this funding disparity has a severe and limiting effect on the North’s economy. It highlights how the lack of investment solidifies rather than eradicates regional divides, an ambition to reduce the gap had been previously set out by the Government.

James Ramsbotham said: “We want the Minister to see the conditions businesses experience every day on our regional network and witness the difference targeted, consistent investment could make to our regional economy. The cancelled rail electrification programme would have provided the missing pieces on a stretch of fully electrified railway from Newcastle to Liverpool through Durham, Darlington, York, Leeds and Manchester.

“Reversal of such high profile planned infrastructure upgrades in the North of England, couples the long term impact on the region’s economic potential, with the short term blow to business confidence and efforts to rebalance the UK’s economy.

“North East England, in particular, has made great progress in recent years with employment rising and unemployment falling, but our members continue to point to the need to improve transport connectivity to enable them to realise their potential.

“It is vital that the Government plays its part in providing the connectivity our region’s businesses need to flourish.”