ONE of the key elements of the ‘Power Up The North’ campaign launched by newspapers across the North of England on Monday was a call for major improvements to the region’s transport network.

Therefore, it was with deep disappointment that we listened to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling’s lamentable attempts to justify current Government policy yesterday.

After brushing off Shadow Transport Secretary Andy MacDonald’s calls for the Government to match Labour’s £10bn plans for a Crossrail for the North with a bland assertion that he was “upgrading the roads in the North and the railways across the North”, Mr Grayling returned to his favoured ploy of attacking Labour’s previous record.

Such tit-for-tat exchanges have become extremely tiresome. Instead of trying to score political points, it is time for Mr Grayling to come up with detailed plans to drag the North’s transport infrastructure out of the Dark Ages.

What is he going to do to ensure the North’s antiquated rail network is fit for purpose? At a time when the Government is pouring public money into London’s £15bn Crossrail project, when will he commit a similarly transformative sum to the North? How will he ensure that spending on road improvement projects in the North matches the sums that are being spent in the South?

Mr Grayling’s record as Transport Secretary is shambolic. If he does not take the North’s needs seriously, the next Prime Minister should ensure he reaches the end of the road.