Artists impression HS Train HS Ltd c

Govt has already approved the Birmingham-Crewe aspect of HS2, while the final leg from Crewe to Manchester is still in the legislative works. Credit: HS2

‘Levelling up? My a**e’ says Burnham over rumours govt will pull HS2 Northern leg

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and chancellor Jeremy Hunt are discussing ditching the high-speed rail project after it reaches Birmingham, according to The Independent. Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham was not amused.

“It’s coming up 10 years since [George] Osborne’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’ speech and the Tories are set to scrap the last of his rail pledges,” Burnham tweeted. “The result? The southern half of England gets a modern rail system and the North left with Victorian infrastructure.”

He added later: “The North-South divide is no accident. It’s national policy.”

The discussion about abandoning the Manchester leg of HS2 comes as costs continue to rise for the much-delayed project. The Independent said it had seen stats that cancelling the Northern part of the project would save the government up to £34bn.

Henri Murison, chief executive of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, warned the government against cancelling the second HS2 phase.

“Any decision to curtail this project any further would do serious damage to the government’s relationship with the business community, both Northern-based businesses and inward investors, who have made long-term investment decisions based on previous promises,” Murison said.

“Cancelling Phase 2b would also make it impossible to improve East-West connectivity across the North as promised in the Integrated Rail plan. It would remove the most critical remaining section of Northern Powerhouse Rail between Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport which is vital for getting passengers from Liverpool across the Pennines,” he continued.

“Given that Phase 1, the most expensive bit of the route, is already underway and that the strongest benefit-cost ratios are found in the Northern sections, it makes no sense to stop now,” Murison said.

He concluded: “Our country’s inability to deliver infrastructure, whether it’s hospitals or rail lines, is a huge problem for raising productivity long-term and our global reputation. The shadow chancellor has already committed to treating to day-to-day spending differently to capital spending to support long-term economic growth – the government should do the same.”

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Is it possible for Manchester to reach it’s ceiling without HS2?

By Verticality

Its time the North started to make serious noises about going it alone. Seems to have benefited Scotland via the barnet formula. The North’s population is 3x that of Scotland’s at 15million. Currently in these parts we are kept in the dark and fed ****. Vive la révolution

By Bob

Yes and levelling up means HS2 covers all major cities in the North and also HS3 starting at Liverpool and it’s Port

By Anonymous

Ironically it was Mr Burnham’s name being dragged through the mud on my morning commute this morning – as dozens of frustrated people were left stranded at bus stops along the V1/V2 route.. Given that single deck buses are expected to serve rush hour commutes. It’s going to take more than a few re-painted yellow buses to fix this shambles.

Leigh deserves a tram / rail link and it’s frightening to think of the number of new houses being proposed along the “busway” on the premise it has excellent commuter links when it cannot even cope with the existing number of commuters.

By Anonymous

I’d be fine with scrapping hs2 if it meant the North was given the proper rail infrastructure it deserves in NPR connection between the northern cites and towns is more important for growth than an hour quicker train to London which one really serves 1 city. The North is again treated like 2nd class citizens am sure they will find the money for crossrail 2 in London. Many people hate Burnham but at least he is speaking up for the people of the North here as a representative

By Anonymous

We don’t need the rest of HS2 as we could still get to London half an hour quicker, we need high quality HS3 now, right across the North from Chester, Lpool,Mcr, Leeds,Bradford, Sheffield, Hull, Newcastle.
That benefits the North, builds our economy and makes us more independent and less in awe of London.

By Anonymous

This obviously sends out a dreadful message and confirms what I’ve always believed, and what many probably suspected: levelling up was nothing more than a useful election slogan.

So what to do?

It merely confirms that we will have to find our own way and explore alternative economic models and forms of governance.

By Dave Proudlove

This was always going to be Crossrail 2. A pound to a Penny that this will become a fast commuter line for people North of London. An utter betrayal. It will be extended through to Surrey before you can shout whip.

By Elephant

Agree with the comments on HS3. HS2 is not needed in Manchester, a Liverpool to Hull intercity line (stopping in Manc, Leeds, Bradford) is what’s needed.

By 1981

Forget HS2. Get the east – west northern powerhouse rail built instead and put trams underground in Manchester City centre. Would have more effect than HS2.

By Anonymous

To anyone in the north who votes for Tory – what planet are you on?

By Anonymous

Should we not be surprised?

By Liverpolitis

I’m guessing that underground station’s off the cards? … 😉

By Tom

The bus service has gotten a lot worse thanks to Burnham

By Gilly

All these people wittering on about HS3, should remember we were promised that too. Where is it? Where is the start of it? Grant Shapps,who is your classic regionalist Southern MP, said we don’t need tunnels, under the Pennines. Tunnels under London though are fine for Crossrail. The North is now no longer part of this country in the eyes of Westminster. We are treated worse than a Victorian colony. I would like the red wall Tory MPS to explain why they have allowed this to happen. My Tory MP in Bury North, when I asked him why Londoners got free travel from the age of 60,and we had to wait until we retired for the same rights, blamed Andy Burnham, conveniently forgetting that his government was subsiding London transport, and failing to do the same for everyone else. How much longer can 15 million British people be treated like a complete irrelevance by their own government?

By Elephant .

Hilarious that those who have spent twenty years talking our city down should now be trying to invoke Liverpool connectivity as a reason to do Manchester HS2.

We were never going to get anything. Reap what you so.

By Jeff

I would much rather see the money go towards Manchester getting a proper underground at Piccadilly than the fake HS2 option that the “London Mafia” were pushing.

By MrP

Manchester will never get and underground system like Liverpool and London it has a tram system that once the other two cites had in the 1800s

By Anonymous

@anonymous re buses, whilst that is frustrating at least now with the buses in public hands, if enough people suggest that the service frequency should improve to cope with demand, there is no reason for them not to do so

By Levelling Up Manager

HS2 was always a terrible idea. It is a London-focused line that would only extend London’s reach out further and only serve a handful of places in the north. The cancellation of the Leeds leg reduced these even more, and now the Manchester leg is also in jeopardy. It is a pity that the government things it is too late to halt the London to Birmingham section.

HS2 trains are now not expected to run into the new Euston station until 2041-43, and it is not clear if it will ever be built. This means that passengers to central London will need to take the Elizabeth line from Old Oak Common, which could add an extra 30 minutes to their journeys. In some cases, it will actually take longer to get to central London from the north on HS2 than it does now! What a horlicks.

I believe that the money that is being spent on HS2 would be better spent on improving the existing rail network. This would benefit people all over the country, not just those in London.

By Marylebone

Another kick in the teeth for the north. In order to hell the north become a net tax contributor we need massive infrastructure investment to improve freight logistics capacity north south and passenger connectivity East west. Devolve us the power, we’re one of the few developed countries that is still so economically monocentric

By Quixote

Expect more delays and disruptions, the rail network is an ecosystem, building it would of benefited even those not on the line. HS2 was more about capacity as the current Victorian lines are heavily congested used by Local/regional, longer distance intercity trains and freight.

By Anonymous

Bad news for London, good news for the north

By Gilly

This might actually be a good thing if we’re not getting the underground station. Get the money and we’ll do other improvements ourselves.

By Anonymous

HS3 is impossible without the capacity that HS2 brings. This is not a serious comment section.

By Anonymous

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