GEORGE OSBORNE will today announce a £14.4m cash injection to improve public transport connections and car parking for the proposed Parkside rail freight interchange.

The money will be used to create a park and ride facility at Newton rail station – as well as major station improvements - that will provide links to the Parkside site.

Lifts will be installed to carry passengers from the platforms to the bus station at ground level.

It is one of a package of measures announced by George Osborne to support science and transport infrastructure in the region and to help create 250,000 jobs by 2030.

The £34.4m transport package is part of the Atlantic Gateway project which aims to build greater connections between Liverpool and Manchester.

Osborne said: “Our long term economic plan is about delivering jobs and growth across all parts of Britain and three quarters of the net new private sector jobs created since 2010 have been outside London. But there is more we need to do.

“Today I take the next step to build a Northern Powerhouse.

"I said we would back key infrastructure and science. Today I do that with £35 million in transport upgrades for the Atlantic Gateway and a new University Enterprise Zone in Liverpool.”

St Helens Council Leader Barrie Grunewald has welcomed the government funding package that will help connect  Parkside site with new public transport infrastructure.

He described the news as a "‘major breakthrough" in the Parkside project.

St Helens Council and Merseytravel have worked closely to secure funding for the programme.

“This is a crucial element in our plans to create thousands of new jobs at Parkside,” said Councillor Grunewald. “The Parkside project is now firmly underway and we are all committed to make this a success and to deliver much needed jobs for St Helens.

“But it will also open up massive new opportunities for the people of St Helens who either work – or want to work - in Manchester and Liverpool.

"The current programme to electrify the Manchester to Liverpool railway line will cut journey times – and the new bus links will make it easier for people to access the line.

 “It’s absolutely fantastic news – and will help us to deliver on our pledge of creating thousands of new jobs for the people of St Helens.”

St Helens Council has joined forces with Langtree Group to acquire the former Parkside colliery site at Newton le Willows.

A new joint venture company, jointly owned by Langtree and the council, has acquired the freehold and has begun work on a development strategy to secure the long-term future economic benefit of the site.

Councillor Grunewald added: “Parkside will become one of the largest projects in Britain and is one of the most significant in terms of regeneration in the North West."