Investment in HS2 not a binary choice, says Cllr Judith Blake

In Leeds City region, scheme will deliver 50,000 additional jobs and an annual £600m boost to the UK economy

9 October 2019

Speaking on behalf of the Connecting Britain campaign in response to an Adam Smith Institute paper on HS2, Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Lead, said:

“It is nonsense to suggest that some relatively modest interventions on the existing rail network would provide anything close to the capacity and journey times offered by HS2, integrated with Northern Powerhouse Rail.

“In my own region, this investment will deliver 50,000 additional jobs as well as an annual £600m boost to the UK economy from better connections between Leeds and Birmingham.

“This is not a binary choice. A long term investment programme for the existing rail network, alongside the delivery of new infrastructure, is required if we are to have the modern reliable rail network the UK needs.”

Business and political leader

Connecting Britain brings together business and political leaders from the North in a campaign to speak with one, united voice and underline the importance of the full delivery of both HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) for communities throughout the North of England. Its formation followed the Government’s announcement of an independent review of HS2.

The campaign says that the North is overdue major investment into transport infrastructure – and a lack of investment is holding productivity back.

Connecting Britain argues that transforming connectivity from the Midlands to the North, will help support economic growth, improve productivity, boost jobs and skills, increase prosperity and support a transition to a low-carbon economy.