Andy Burnham: "We are at a critical moment when the government’s commitment to the North is about to be tested"
The government is launching a review of high-speed rail link HS2. It will consider whether and how the project to connect London, the Midlands and northern England should proceed.
The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: "The North is struggling to cope with our Victorian railway infrastructure and major upgrades are long overdue. HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail will need to last us as long as the Victorian rail infrastructure it replaces, so it is essential that we get it right.
"While I am not opposed to looking at how we can ensure HS2 delivers value for money, people in the North will be wary of this review. There is no elected representative from the North on the review team and, too often, Government promises to the North have proved to be about as reliable as our trains. If we are not careful, this review could add uncertainty and confusion just when the North needs clarity.
"That said, I am very encouraged by the suggestion that the crucial east – west link across the North, which HS2 enables, could be prioritised over southern sections of the line. I will work with the review team to explore that possibility.
"Both HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail are vital if we are to truly rebalance our country’s economy. We need a modern, high speed, rail system, like France or Germany, that connects all parts of the country and is fit for the 21st century.
"It feels like we are at a critical moment when the government’s commitment to the North is about to be tested. People here are watching closely and will demand nothing less than the Northern Powerhouse that was promised."
Article Published: 21/08/2019 14:14 PM