You are Here: Home » News » News Headlines » Andy Burnham says Labour would bring HS2 to Manchester after fears it could be dropped
Date published: 19 September 2023
Andy Burnham. House Of Lords Education for 11–16 Year Olds Committee. June 15, 2023
Andy Burnham has said Labour will bring HS2 to Manchester, despite the party failing to guarantee that the high-speed railway project will go ahead over the weekend.
The Greater Manchester mayor said he has been reassured that the party’s commitment to two major northern railway projects has not changed.
It comes after reports last week that the government is considering shelving the northern phase of HS2 amid concerns about spiralling costs and severe delays.
And when asked on BBC One’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme on Sunday (17 September), senior Labour Party figure Pat McFadden did not commit to completing the controversial project in full either.
However, speaking to the media on Monday morning (18 September), Mr Burnham said his party is still committed to delivering HS2 and the new east-to-west Northern Powerhouse Rail project in full.
He said: “As I understand it, there is no change in Labour policy – I’ve had that confirmed.
“The commitment is still to HS2 and to full Northern Powerhouse Rail. I’m not aware of a change of policy. That’s been confirmed to me in the last 24 hours.”
The Labour mayor urged the government not to leave ‘uncertainty hanging’ over the HS2 project and said Northern leaders should be consulted about any changes to transport infrastructure plans affecting the region. It follows reports that Northern Powerhouse Rail could be upgraded if HS2 is dropped.
He said that local leaders would ‘only accept’ a new line that stops at Bradford and continues to Leeds with an underground station at Manchester Piccadilly. The government’s current plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail would only create a new line from Manchester to Marsden and upgrade existing lines.
Read more: Tory minister dodges questions and refuses to confirm HS2 in ManchesterPublished: 19 September 2023
Henri Murison from the business-led think tank Northern Powerhouse Partnership said certainty is needed from the government and the opposition over HS2. He claimed that uncertainty over the project has already caused economic harm.
He said: “We note the Labour leader remains committed and their willingness to still make the case for the need for it, whilst challenging the record of the government on delivery. Politics is important, but the country and its long-term interests should come first.”
In a post on X – the social media platform previously called Twitter – on Monday 18 September, shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said that Labour is committed to delivering HS2 ‘in full’.
A party source said: “Labour remains committed to delivering HS2 in full and maximising its economic benefits for our core cities that have been hamstrung for decades. Speculation over recent days has demonstrated yet again that the Tories’ incompetence and gross mismanagement of this project is costing the north and taxpayers dear and risking delivery of the project.”
The Department for Transport and HS2 Ltd has been contacted for comment.
Joseph Timan, Local Democracy Reporter
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