Business leaders across the North West have reacted to reports that the Prime Minister is on the verge of scrapping HS2’s northern leg.

Rishi Sunak is expected to cut the route from Birmingham to Manchester because of increasing costs.

Clare Hayward ,interim chair of the NP11 and chair of Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “A thriving economy relies on world-class connectivity and other countries are investing heavily in their infrastructure and high-speed rail connections to accelerate growth and embrace opportunity. HS2 represents the opportunity to invest and build for the future, developing a modern rail network that functions effectively, and improves connectivity and capacity across the North, and supports our goals to improve productivity, achieve our climate goals and grow our economy.

“The North stands to gain significantly from HS2. Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s HS2 & NPR Growth Strategy is set to double the economic output of Greater Manchester to £132bn by 2050, delivering 96,000 jobs and 16,800 homes, as well as widespread regeneration. During construction alone, HS2 will support 17,500 jobs in the North West.

“Under-investment in transport infrastructure has been a key factor that has restricted growth in the North of England’s and businesses in the region are excited about the potential offered by HS2. Improving the capacity of our rail network is vital especially if we want to take millions of freight journeys off our motorways and onto rail in order to improve quality of life and enable our climate goals to be achieved.”

“Scrapping the Eastern Leg to Leeds was a major blow for the North. The city of Leeds had been planning for more than a decade to make way for its arrival and had great aspirations for its impact. Removing the link to Manchester, and all high-speed rail links to the North as a result, would be a further major setback for the region and damage the confidence of potential investors into the region.

“HS2 is due to be delivering 22km of new, high-speed track between Manchester and Hoo Green Junction that will allow trains on Northern Powerhouse Rail to run from Liverpool to York, via Manchester. That is roughly 40% of the track to be laid in Phase 2b of HS2. Failing to deliver HS2 risks impacting the confidence of investors, domestically and internationally undermining the hopes and aspirations of our businesses and the people who live here.”

Source: Business Live

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