Northern leaders turn against conservatives over latest HS2 ‘betrayal’

Mayors across the region have lined up to attack the decision to scrap the eastern part and water down the Northern Powerhouse Rail

New HS2 train
HS2 won’t work in Leeds after all

Northern leaders accused the government of “betrayal” today amid growing anger over the Conservatives’ flip-flop on the bullet train.

Regional chiefs have lashed out over the decision to cut the east branch of HS2 and water down the Northern Powerhouse Rail program to save money.

Ministers finally admitted last week that the 225 mph line will not be extended from Birmingham to Leeds as promised – while NPR will be cut.

Instead, a series of local roads will be built or reinforced.

While some MPs welcomed the revision, others cautioned Boris Johnson he risked alienating the voters of the “red wall” who went from Workforce to curators in 2019 general election.

The project was originally designed to go from London to Manchester and Leeds via Birmingham



Speaking at Transport for the North’s first board meeting since the East Leg project was scrapped, furious West Yorkshire Underground Mayor Tracy Brabin said the government had let down the people.

She fumed: ‘It is a betrayal to level up for West Yorkshire, it doesn’t feel right and it doesn’t seem transparent or clear.

“It is built on a Victorian infrastructure, a plan that will not fit its purpose in the 21st century.

West Yorkshire Underground Mayor Tracy Brabin s


Examiner Huddersfield)

“It’s not just about connecting cities, it’s about connecting communities. “

The Prime Minister has sparked widespread anger over the scrapping of the initial HS2 and NPR plans in favor of a new £ 96bn upgrade plan.

The government was accused of a “big train theft” when it finally released its integrated rail plan – which slashed planned spending by tens of billions of pounds – last week.

Boris Johnson asked about HS2 during Prime Minister’s Questions


BBC Parliament)

Speaking at the TfN board meeting in Leeds, Liverpool City area metro mayor Steve Rotheram said leaders in the North were “supposed to be grateful for a sub-optimal option, for the crumbs on the table, ”calling the new plan“ cheap and nasty ”.

Hull City Council Chief Daren Hale compared the cuts to the infamous closure of thousands of miles of track and hundreds of stations in the 1960s and 1970s.

“We see this almost as a Beeching moment,” he warned.

“It’s bad for the North, it’s catastrophic for the city of Hull and the people of East Yorkshire.”

He added, “I can’t tell you how angry I am. I think the North got a complete makeover, but I think some areas made it worse – and we were one of them.

The Prime Minister had previously promised that the eastern leg would unfold fully


Darren Quinton / Birmingham Live)

TfN chief strategy officer Tim Foster called the revised plans “a big disappointment.”

Northern Powerhouse Partnership director Henri Murison said: “The decision not to build a line between Manchester and Leeds via Bradford in an attempt to save £ 3.5 billion – just 10% of the NPR’s original funding – not just a promised snap, it’s a huge mistake that will hold back productivity for decades.

“This plan reveals a lack of ambition on the part of the Prime Minister and the £ 36 billion in cuts made last week have left Northern Powerhouse’s broader long-term strategy on how to create a North as prosperous as the South in shreds.

Henri Murison, Director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership


Courtesy of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership)

“The transformational economic and environmental benefits of new high-speed rail lines are too great to ignore – upgrades alone mean decades of disruption and limited improvements in connectivity.

Mr Johnson has been accused of a “litany of broken promises” during the Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons today, including on HS2.

But, speaking during an emergency debate on the role of TfN, Transport Minister Andrew Stephenson insisted: “This government remains committed to HS2 and remains committed to Northern Powerhouse Rail, and this plan that we presented. last week explains how we would deliver benefits to communities. across the North sooner than expected. “


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