Leeds’ political and business leaders were united in their call on Government to deliver HS2 and NPR together and in full.
Speaking at the Leeds Key to the North press conference, the leader of Leeds City Council, Cllr Judith Blake said: “If the Government is serious about rebalancing the economy it must not turn its back on our towns and cities who have suffered long enough from decades of under investment, it’s time to unlock the North’s potential. This is not about having to choose between HS2 all the way or NPR, they must come together”
MP Hilary Benn said: “The North must not be short changed. I stand resolutely opposed to scrapping the eastern leg – the bit of the route which will bring the greatest economic benefits.”
The CBI’s Beckie Hart said, “HS2 is critical to unlocking our potential, it’s time to back it, build it and benefit from HS2.”
The Northern Powerhouse Partnership’s, Henri Murison also emphasised the enormous economic benefits that would be unlocked because of HS2 East and Mike Briffett, representing Leeds Chamber of Commerce said that HS2 is about investing in improved growth and productivity and building a legacy for tomorrow’s generation.
In a letter to Douglas Oakervee and Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, Leeds City Region MPs rallied behind the need for HS2’s eastern arm to be delivered in full to unlock the North’s potential.
MPs and business leaders sent out another clear message to put an end to any uncertainty and called on the Oakervee Review to re-commit to HS2 ‘all the way’. Cllr Blake added: “It is clear that we are long overdue short term investment and we need immediate improvements in our transport services for today’s commuters but this does not preclude long term investment in HS2 and NPR. We must fight for future generations and make sure they are not left behind. Leeds and the entire North must reap the benefits from a national rail infrastructure fit for the 21st century and beyond.”