High speed rail line ‘a shot in the arm’ for economy

A prototype of the high speed HS2 train.
A prototype of the high speed HS2 train.
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A LEADING business figure has described plans for a high speed rail line connecting Yorkshire to London as a “shot in the arm” for the economy as the Government confirmed transport funding worth more than £300m will be handed over to councils and local enterprise partnerships in the region.

Neil McLean, chairman of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, offered his support for the ‘High Speed Two’ (HS2) line as the Government prepares to publish details of the proposed route for the second phase of the project between Birmingham and Yorkshire.

In a letter to the Yorkshire Post, Mr McLean writes: “If we want our businesses to compete in today’s global economy, we need quick, reliable connections to markets, suppliers and labour sources; and that’s precisely what HS2 will deliver.”

The Government has faced vocal opposition from some campaigners concerned about the route of the first phase between London and Birmingham but Mr McLean calls for the region to “embrace HS2 just like the Victorians embraced the first railway”.

Greater local control over transport spending for the next 10 years was agreed last year with the Government as part of ‘city deals’ struck with the Leeds and Sheffield City Regions.

Ministers later set out plans to devolve spending on major transport schemes to new “local transport bodies” of councils and LEPs working together, although those areas not covered by a city deal are only receiving money for four years. The Humber will receive £22.2m while North Yorkshire will be handed £14.4m. West Yorkshire and York has secured £182.8m for 10 years with South Yorkshire receiving £113.6m.