Former UK chancellor pushes for HS322/08/17Government
Former UK chancellor George Osborne has urged Westminster to build high-speed rail lines across the north of England, connecting Liverpool to Hull.
In an article in the Financial Times, Osborne – who launched the Northern Powerhouse initiative in his term – called for an HS3 project.
The UK government said that it was “investing billions of pounds” in order to “connect communities” across the north, despite this, Osborne said ‘it will not be cheap’ but would ‘transform’ the UK economy.
As a result, the former Tatton MP is launching a campaign for a secondary high speed connection which would run along the Pennines.
Current plans for HS2 intend to link London and Birmingham, as well as a split branch for the final destinations of Manchester and Leeds via Crewe.
The Northern Powerhouse Partnership wants the government to redesign the second phase of the existent HS2 in order to “remodel” four junctions, with hopes of being used for further connections.
Osborne wrote how such a railway would ‘bring seven million extra people – and three times the number of businesses – within a 90-minute journey time of one of the northern cities’.
He added: ‘There is no geographical reason why this cannot happen. The distance between Manchester and Leeds is shorter than the length of the Central line on the London Underground.’
Labour’s Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, tweeted a link to Osborne’s article, adding that the north of England is ‘getting organised’.
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said that the government had already made commitments to Northern Powerhouse Rail, providing £60m (~€77.1m) to Transport for the North to develop plans.
He added: “We are also investing billions of pounds across the north of England to better connect communities, build the Northern Powerhouse, and deliver improved journeys right across the region”.