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HS2's Rebalancing Britain report must not be undermined by current destructive policies

27 October 2014

TSSA welcomes HS2's Rebalancing Britain report as addressing the important role that HS2 can play as part of - and not the totality of - future investment in Britain's railways but warns the current fare rises and overcrowding in the north are undermining the report's aims.

Manuel Cortes, General Secretary of the TSSA transport union said, "We welcome David Higgins' report and strongly agree that HS2 must not be built as an isolated project but as part of a long term plan for the country's future transport needs - nationally and within our regions. Upgraded east-west links across the North of England are essential to delivering this.

"But regardless of what might be delivered in decades to come, the government's current approach to rail in the north - raising fares into Manchester by 162% - whilst commuters suffer on trains that should have been retired years ago - will drive passengers off the trains and on to ever-more congested roads.

"If we're serious about meeting demand not just over the next few years, but for decades to come, rail has to be a big part of the solution both for passengers and freight. As the greenest form of long-distance transport, we need investment in schemes - from HS2 down to high-frequency services connecting towns and cities within the north - if we're to avoid gridlock on our roads and the environmental damage that brings."

"We welcome HS2's announcement that it is preparing advice on the potential to extend high speed services to Scotland. Britain is lagging decades behind many European countries when it comes to high speed rail. Given the time it takes to plan and construct these lines, it is essential that the planning required to include Edinburgh and Glasgow in the emerging network begins as soon as possible."

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