Political leaders and businesses in the North have joined forces to form Connecting Britain, ensuring the North can speak as one united voice to underline the benefits of Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) and HS2.
The decision to create and launch Connecting Britain follows the government’s decision to call for an independent review of the HS2 project to check whether or not the costs are worth the construction of the high speed rail line.
The Connecting Britain campaign coincides with the HS2 Economic Growth Conference in Leeds, but the partnership of authorities in the North are united in thinking that the region is due major investment in its transport infrastructure and without this, the North is being held back.
Connectivity from the Midlands to the North – something that the second phase of HS2 will create – will result in economic growth, greater productivity, increased jobs and skills.
Sir Richard Leese is the Leader of Manchester City Council and a campaign partner for Connecting Britain.
He said government approval of HS2 and NPR would be a “clear signal” that the lack of investment in the region has been recognised.
“A green light on HS2 and NPR in full would be a clear signal from the government that it recognises that historic underinvestment in strategic transport infrastructure outside London is a trend that must be reversed if all communities are to be levelled up and regions rebalanced.
“We will work with the government and the Oakervee Review into HS2, to demonstrate the strength of the economic case for the full and timely delivery of HS2 fully integrated with NPR and other complementary infrastructure schemes in the North and Midlands.
“For the North, it’s not either HS2 or NPR, it’s both.”
This message has been reiterated by Chambers of Commerce throughout the North who are backing the campaign, as it promises to be transformative for the region and businesses based there.