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A vital announcement on the route of the new high-speed rail line between Yorkshire and the Midlands has been delayed until the new year.

The Department for Transport had originally said it would unveil its preferred route for stage two of the £32bn line before Christmas, including the locations of new stations in Leeds and South Yorkshire.

But George Osborne said: “The Transport Secretary will set out in the New Year plans to take HS2 to Yorkshire.”

Last week it was reported a leaked letter showed Rail Minister Norman Baker wants the South Yorkshire station to be sited at Meadowhall rather than in Sheffield city centre, as expected.

That was attacked by Sheffield MP Paul Blomfield, who said: “A Meadowhall station would undermine our city centre and would be the wrong economic decision for Sheffield.”