Regional leaders have written to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Elizabeth Truss, to ask for the Government’s clear commitment to fully deliver HS2 phase 2b.
In the letter, leaders underline their continued support for HS2, asserting that it is “one of the keys to unleashing the full economic potential of all our regions” and calling for the Government to firmly commit to the second phase of HS2, from the Midlands to Leeds and Manchester with services continuing further North.
The letter stresses that investment in HS2 is complementary to, not an alternative for, improvements in local and regional rail networks including the Midlands Hub and Northern Powerhouse Rail.
The letter says: “Our country has always thrived on delivering world-leading innovation and progress. Now, more than ever, we should be proud to build Europe’s largest infrastructure project without delay.
“Failure to make a clear commitment to the full delivery of HS2 at this time would be a disaster for our regional economies and our national prosperity for decades to come.
Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council and Member of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, said: “Britain needs both HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail alongside investment in the East Coast Main Line and an upgraded trans-Pennine line to deliver the economic outcomes our region, the North and the UK, need to prosper in the decades ahead.
“These projects offer the chance to remove historic obstacles to inclusive growth and our focus should be on accelerating their delivery.
“Our plans show HS2, integrated with local transport at a transformed Leeds station, can deliver 40,000 additional jobs directly and a further 50,000 through productivity and regeneration benefits by 2050 in the Leeds City Region.”
Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Chair and Leader of Bradford Council Leader, said: “This letter demonstrates our collective determination to ensure major transport investment, including HS2 integrated with Northern Powerhouse Rail and a city centre station in Bradford, is delivered that removes major barriers to growth.
“Our plans to bring improved economic opportunities to all our communities are intrinsically linked to this investment in major infrastructure and it is essential that any uncertainty is removed.
“We will continue press the Government to ensure these investments are delivered for all parts of our region.”
The signatories are:
Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council
Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council
Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the NP11 Board and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council
Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council
Cllr Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council
Cllr Liam Robinson, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Transport and Air Quality
Andrew Hodgson, Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership
Asif Hamid MBE, Chair of Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Business and Brexit
Mike Blackburn, Chair of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership
Cllr Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland City Council
Norma Redfearn, Mayor of North Tyneside
Cllr Peter Jackson, Leader of Northumberland County Council
Cllr Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council
Cllr Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council
Cllr Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council
David Kerfoot, Chair of the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership
David Taylor. Chair of the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership
Christine Gaskell, Chair of the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership
Lord Inglewood, Chair of the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership