By Daniel Hunter
A new high speed rail link between Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and London, HS2, will be a 'heart bypass for the clogged arteries of our transport system' Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin pledged.
In a speech to business and industry he outlined the case for a new high speed rail line north of London. He highlighted independent new research by KPMG which shows HS2 could give a £15 billion annual boost to the economy, with the north and midlands gaining at least double the benefit of the south.
Speaking at the Institution of Civil Engineers in London, the Transport Secretary said: "The point about High Speed 2 is that you won't have to travel on it to gain from the better transport system and economic growth it will support.
"People who may never use the new line will still gain from more services for towns and cities up and down Britain. More room for local trains. More space for direct services to London from places that can't get them today. More space for freight trains - to free up our motorways.
Pointing to new research from KPMG on the economic benefits of the scheme, Patrick McLoughlin said: "It will make Liverpool stronger, Manchester stronger, Leeds stronger, Britain stronger. A £15 billion annual boost to the economy, with the north and midlands gaining at least double the benefit of the south."
In making the case for a new high speed rail link the Secretary of State also highlighted more than £70 billion of capital investment in transport in the next Parliament, of which only £16 billion is for HS2.
Transport funding committed to by government includes:
- £24 billion on new major road schemes including 400 miles of extra lanes on our motorways
- 52 major projects and 195 pinchpoint schemes to bust jams
- £6 billion this Parliament and £12 billion in the next to resurface roads and fix potholes
This is in addition to record investment in rail. This includes:
- £37.5 billion by Network Rail between 2014 and 2019 delivery of Crossrail and Thameslink in London
- an 850 mile national programme of electrification new fleets of faster trains on the East Coast and Great Western mainlines
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