Scrapping HS2 will condemn millions across the Liverpool City Region and the wider north to “creaking infrastructure for generations,” it has been claimed.
As the Conservative Party continues its conference in Manchester, rumours have engulfed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak that he will confirm the scrapping of the high-speed rail project’s link to Manchester. This has increased fears around the knock-on effect to the Northern Powerhouse Rail scheme speeding up links between Liverpool, Manchester, and Leeds.
Steve Rotheram, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, has hit out at the proposed culling of the northern section of the major infrastructure scheme, claiming it will leave the north “powerless.”
He said, “After weeks of speculation we are no nearer to understanding what the Prime Minister’s plans for rail infrastructure in the north look like. Far from building the Northern Powerhouse, he’s turning us into the Northern Powerless.
“It’s clear from the weeks of government briefings that it is a case of when, not if, Rishi Sunak breaks the Conservatives’ promises on HS2 – without any consultation or a single conversation with the people it affects. What message does this send?
“That people in the North are worth less than people in the South? That the UK is not a serious place to invest or do business? That the Tories simply do not care about Victorian infrastructure holding back opportunities for economic growth across the north from Liverpool to Hull?”
On Tuesday, Mr Sunak refused to confirm that he will pull the plug on the route despite widespread reports for the past few days. It is thought the announcement could be made during the Prime Minister’s keynote speech on Wednesday.
Mr Rotheram, who wrote to Mr Sunak condemning the move last week, said, “Despite its conference logo this government is intent on facing towards the past rather than embracing the future. Why is the north being forced to choose? It shouldn’t be an either or, and the reality is that without both, the North will continue to be held back.
“We are being offered a false choice between HS2 and NPR and phony promises of jam tomorrow. A pretend option between either investment in national infrastructure, or unspecified funding into local transport.
“Without the Manchester leg of HS2 there is no Northern Powerhouse Rail. The Prime Minister’s choice this week will condemn millions of people across the North to contend with creaking infrastructure for generations.”