More than 20 prominent figures in local government and business have told the Treasury that scrapping HS2 would undermine Britain’s “national prosperity for decades to come”
Among the signatories is Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester Council.
In a letter to Liz Truss, chief secretary to the Treasury, the group insisted that Europe’s biggest infrastructure project was already having a positive impact by attracting investment.
The letter acknowledges the problems facing local transport networks. However, it said that “deciding not to proceed with HS2 would hinder, rather than help, efforts to address those challenges”.
“Altogether, city regions around the route have plans to create nearly 500,000 jobs and add billions to the UK economy,” it said. “Poor connections following decades of under-investment in the rail network between our major cities have been holding the UK back for far too long.
In determining the continued value for money of HS2, it is essential that the spending review avoids making false distinctions between investment in local, regional and national transport infrastructure.”
The letter comes amid concern that this year’s Treasury review will consider scrapping the project which will see the line connecting London to Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.
Last week, a report from the House of Lords economic affairs committee recommended running trains at lower speeds and terminating them outside central London to cut costs, insisting that savings should be spent on transport upgrades in the north of England.