Transport union TSSA has warned the government would be "liars, thieves and charlatans" if they short-change Northern and Midlands communities following the publication of a report by the National Infrastructure Commission on rail investment in the North and Midlands.
Boris Johnson has prominently backed the full HS2 project with high-profile political and media promises made in February of this year and subsequently.
Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary, said: “The government must not short-change the North and Midlands. If they do, they are simply liars, thieves and charlatans. Their so-called ‘levelling-up’ promise will become a cruel joke to the communities which have planned for and would most benefit from regional rail projects should any of these get scrapped. And that means also delivering HS2 in full.
“Tens of thousands of jobs rely on the government sticking to its commitment to the northern and eastern legs of HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, Midlands Engine Rail and other regional upgrade and decarbonisation projects. Investing in high-speed rail will kickstart the economies of these regions and tackle climate change through decarbonising our transport networks.
“It’s only through the combination and delivery of all of these investment programmes that the full economic and environmental benefits will be realised. To drop parts would be a huge mistake on both fronts.
“Next year’s Integrated Rail Plan must provide a comprehensive blueprint for ambitious rail projects which truly meet the needs of our communities.”
Boris Johnson promise on HS2 February 2020:
On 11 February 2020 Prime Minister Boris Johnson made an announcement to much fanfare declaring that “HS2 will go ahead alongside revolution in local transport”.
The Number 10 press release said: “The Prime Minister told Parliament that he is committed to Phase 2b of the project, extending high-speed rail from the West Midlands to the North.”
Government promise on Eastern leg November 2020:
On 30 November 2020, Labour Peer Lord Adonis moved a cross-party motion to require HS2 to run from London to Birmingham and on through to Derby, Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds. The motion called for Ministers to legislate for the eastern leg of the project within the next six months.
Responding for the government, transport minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton, said the government was committed to HS2 in full and said the motion was not required as: "The prime minister has been very clear that the government's plans for the HS2 eastern leg will be set out in the integrated rail plan and that this will be laid before Parliament in the same time frame of the amendment."
Your can read the NIC report in full here.