Tracy Brabin calls on Government to deliver HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail 'in full' as doubts grow

West Yorkshire mayor Tracy Brabin says the Government must deliver on HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail “in full” as doubts grow over whether the former project will ever reach Yorkshire.

Tracy Brabin is to speak about HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail at the Transport for the North conference in Leeds next month.

Brabin is to set out the case for increased investment in the region’s infrastructure at the Transport for the North annual conference in Leeds on September 20, where other speakers will also include Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.

In advance of the event, Brabin said: “Better transport connections can transform our region’s prospects, giving our people and businesses the chance to explore new opportunities and achieve their ambitions; and TfN's conference will be a chance for the North to come together to discuss these matters.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“For West Yorkshire, Northern Powerhouse Rail is the key to unlocking this potential. The Government has the opportunity to bring its levelling up agenda to life by committing to NPR and HS2 in full – we really need them to step up now and meet the challenge so we can start to build the future for the generations to come.”

It comes after a string of reports in recent weeks that the Eastern leg of the scheme between Birmingham and Leeds could be axed by Government. The Financial Times reported today that the scheme - which is currently on hold until the publication of the Government's Integrated Rail Plan - "is expected to be curtailed or mothballed" due to rising costs.

Speaking ahead of the Transport for the North conference, Greater Manchester mayor Burnham said: "Major decisions are looming which will have a massive bearing on life in the North of England for the rest of this century.

"At such a crucial moment, it is important that the North comes together as one and makes the case for the investment needed to build an integrated, affordable, 21st century public transport system. This conference gives us the chance to do just that and get the voice of the North heard clearly in Whitehall.

“The country will not be levelled up until people here can benefit from public transport of the same quality, at the same cost, as London. They have had to put up with over-priced, second-class services for far too long and now deserve to see real change.”

A new report by the High Speed Rail Group (HSRG), High Speed Rail Yorkshire and North East Voices has been published today in an attempt to bolster the case for going ahead with the Eastern Leg of HS2.

In the document, Leeds City Council leader James Lewis says the continued uncertainty over whether HS2 will go ahead "is threatening to put the brakes on projects across Leeds and the wider region", particularly in relation to ongoing attempts to regenerate the South Bank area of the city.

Lewis, who is also co-chair of the HS2 East campaign group alongside Conservative MP Ben Bradley, said HS2 is expected to bring 40,000 new jobs to Leeds and £40bn to the local economy.

"We have committed to our side of the bargain, harnessing HS2 to deliver growth across our region: now all we ask is for the government to stay committed to their side and deliver HS2 East," he said.

"Long term plans for inclusive growth and regeneration have been put into motion across our region, which are now being threatened by the continued uncertainty around HS2 East.

"If the government is serious about their levelling up agenda, they must not put the brakes on such a crucial infrastructure project.

"Only with the full delivery of HS2 East, alongside a truly integrated rail network, will we be able to fix the significant geographical inequalities that impact not only our region, but also the country."

Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you'll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers. Click here to subscribe.