IT is even more imperative, as the Government’s review into HS2 is finalised, that Boris Johnson puts the long-term national interest before his short-term electoral interests.
That much is clear as political and business leaders from across the region restate the strategic and economic importance of HS2 to Yorkshire, and vice-versa, after reports that the Birmingham to Leeds leg of the project could be scrapped – or deferred – to save money.
First, the six regional heads of the CBI – including Sky Bet’s former boss Richard Flint – issue today an unprecedented joint statement in support of the national benefits of high-speed rail. Their message is simple: “Back it, build it, benefit from it.”
Next, a study undertaken by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership makes the case, ahead of the Government-commissioned Oakervee review, for a new body, HS2 North, to be set up to ensure high-speed rail dovetails with improved transport links between this region’s major towns and cities.
Finally, Dan Jarvis – the mayor of Sheffield City Region – sets out how the construction of a new line will increase capacity and make it possible for more local services to run and help regenerate those parts of the region that have been blighted by industrial and economic neglect for too long.
Concerned that the cancellation of HS2 in this region will lead to even more transport investment being focused on London rather than the long-neglected North, his conclusion is one that this newspaper shares at this critical time. When Yorkshire and the North prospers, the whole country prospers.