WHEN the Prime Minister arrives in Yorkshire today, he will hear an impassioned plea for an unequivocal commitment to bring HS2 to this region. If Boris Johnson is to command any confidence from our county’s voters, he must make such a pledge.
The importance of HS2 cannot be overstated. If the economy is to prosper in the years ahead, connectivity is key.
Businesses know to their cost what an obstacle poor transport links have been over the course of decades and it is unacceptable that the North should not get the high-speed rail it has long been promised.
Yet the current review into HS2 casts doubt on the future of the project, while the timetable for the scheme has recently been pushed back.
There are many within the ranks of Conservative MPs who have never liked it, and Mr Johnson himself has been at best lukewarm in his support.
That needs to change.
The strength of the north’s justified claim to a rail system fit for the 21st century is eloquently and compellingly expressed by Gerald Jennings, chairman of the West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.
The points he makes are indisputable.
From increasing passenger capacity on all rail services to easing congestion on the roads by reducing the number of lorries using them, the case for HS2 is more powerful today than it has ever been.
Mr Johnson knows that boosting the economy of the north via high-speed rail – especially Northern Powerhouse Rail – will benefit the whole of Britain.
Mr Jennings is surely correct when he asserts that failing to invest in the full HS2 network now would scupper any NPR plan and would be a decision that the entire country would regret for generations to come.
Mr Johnson has the opportunity to do not just the north, but all of Britain, a service by committing to HS2. He should take it.