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£33m COVID-19 support funding for light rail and trams in the North and the Midlands

Mark Moran
22 March 2021
A Birmingham tram (DfT)
A Birmingham tram (DfT)


Tram and light rail operators across the North and Midlands will receive £33m in an additional UK Government funding to support tram and light rail operators during the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest grant round takes the total support for Nottingham, Sheffield, Newcastle, Blackpool, Manchester and Birmingham light rail systems to nearly £200m. Funding will be provided for the next 11 weeks, with a review of the need for further funding for these systems taking place before the end of that period.

Before the pandemic, more than 119 million journeys were taken by light rail or tram each year on systems outside of London. However, light rail and tram operators have faced reduced revenues caused by low passenger numbers due to coronavirus.

Transport Minister Baroness Vere said: “As the country opens up in line with the roadmap out of lockdown, we want light rail and tram services to be available to passengers and running as normal. That’s why we’re continuing to fund these vital transport systems, ensuring that they’re available now and are ready for people to use when restrictions ease.”

Operators will receive emergency funding of up to £33m over the next 11 weeks, building on over £160m in funding that has already been announced by the UK government for light rail and trams during the pandemic. This takes the total support so far to nearly £200m.

The light rail funding comes alongside over £1bn provided to support local bus services throughout the pandemic.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay said: “At the start of this pandemic, we promised to do everything we could to support people and businesses. That includes making sure our country’s vital infrastructure is running for people who rely on it – such as key workers and those travelling to schools.”

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