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Council Welcomes New Case For HS2

Alternatives suggest fourteen years of delays

Written by . Published on October 29th 2013.

Council Welcomes New Case For HS2

MANCHESTER City Council is to welcome new evidence set out by the Government supporting the case for the new HS2 high speed North-South rail link.

(Read Graham Stringer MPs article ‘HS2: It Must Be Built’ for Confidential).

HS2 brings massive benefits to the north, is great for commuters and the alternatives just don’t stack up

The proposed project, costing around £42.6bn and connecting London via Birmingham with Manchester and Leeds (top speed of 225mph), has been estimated by the Department for Transport to potentially cut journey times from London to Manchester to only one hour and eight minutes. However, the project would not be complete until well into the 2030s.

Critics of the HS2 project doubt that heavy costs will bring sufficient benefit, discounting a report in September by KPMG suggesting that the UK economy would see an overall growth of 0.8 per cent following the new rail line.

According to the Government, Britain cannot meet its future transport needs without HS2. Even with over £50 billion of planned transport investment over the next six years the country’s railways will be overwhelmed.

The Government’s new Strategic Case for HS2, the fifth such business case for the project, sets out in detail the need for a new railway line to provide vital extra capacity and the impacts the alternatives to building HS2 would have.

The alternatives, the Government claims, being fourteen years of disruption to services nationwide with 2770 weekend closures and 144,000 hours work while only providing between a third and a half of the extra seats of the HS2 – and would still cost £20bn.

Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin said: “We need a radical solution and HS2 is it. A patch and mend job will not do – the only option is a new north south railway. HS2 brings massive benefits to the north, is great for commuters and the alternatives just don’t stack up.”

How Piccadilly may look - in artist imagination landHow Piccadilly may look - in artist imagination land

In recent years, only £12bn investment has been committed to the North compared with £40 billion in London and this figure includes the Northern Hub project, an ambitious project to increase train services, cut journey times and electrify lines between northern cities, on which work is only just starting.

The new railway is estimated to deliver an annual boost to the economy of up to £15bn with Manchester, which would have HS2 stations at both Piccadilly and the airport, well placed to benefit from regeneration and improved business efficiency and competitiveness.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "The case for HS2 is a compelling one and today’s evidence demonstrates more clearly than ever that the alternatives simply do not stack up.

"With overcrowding already upon us and worse to come, no one is seriously suggesting that doing nothing is an option. But nor has anyone proposed an alternative which would deliver anything like the benefits HS2 would secure. This is a once in a century opportunity and it’s essential that we seize it."

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21 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

DavidOctober 29th 2013.

Maybe Sir Richard should try speaking to those in his own party like Ed Balls who are deliberately trying to kill the project.Will he stand up for the people of the city and their economic interests or will he once again side with his party. I suggest we will be betrayed again by Labour.Just as we were by Brown with the super casino,for which our dumb local leaders said not to worry,we would get a world class opera house etc instead.More false promises. Why is it that Tory dominated government,with not one seat in this city is having to fight the opposition of a party with virtually every seat in this city.The protesters against this project in the countryside are also mainly Tory voters and Tory councils,yet they have stuck withy his project.Yet Labour who represents overwhelmingly all the northern cities who would benefit,is cynically betraying the interests of its own voters.Maybe Manchester Confidential would try asking Sir Richard or Mr Stringer directly what they think of Ed Balls.At the moment they are being allowed to dodge this question.

DavidOctober 29th 2013.

For years we in the north have been betrayed by our local politicians,who mostly choose to live down south once they have acquired a cushy safe seat in the north.They are much more interested in where they and their families actually live their lives. All the major European cities have train links to other major cities in other European cities,and that is what we were promised when the channel tunnel was built.Yet That committed was allowed to be dropped and ONLY London has direct train links to the cities like Lille,Paris,Amsterdam etc. We need a strong charismatic political figure to represent the people of Greater Manchester and if necessary bully London into looking after out interests.Instead we have a local party mediocrity like Leese,who prefers not to rock the boat,and collect his party awarded title.A man who acquired his position and retains his position for decades,based solely on the whims of the local Labour Party.

Kevin PeelOctober 29th 2013.

Not sure which post you read, David, or what news you've been following recently. Manchester Labour politicians - including Richard, Graham, Lucy and others - have been vociferous in their support for HS2. I for one think it would be a disgrace if any party leader failed to support this vital project and will be encouraging my Labour colleagues who recognise its value to make as much noise as possible in the coming months.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
DavidOctober 29th 2013.

Would you like to comment on your shadow chanceller Ed Balls lack of commitment then Kevin?.Or have you and the rest of Manchesters socialists decided to pretend he does not exist?

AnonymousOctober 29th 2013.

David: Are you the same David who always moans when Labour Party people agree with one another.... something about toeing the line..... or are you a different David

AnonymousOctober 29th 2013.


David BlakeOctober 29th 2013.

I'd suggest that anyone reading this article clicks the link near the top through to MP Graham Stringer's piece on HS2. A solid and pragmatic opinion with a heavy North West slant.

1 Response: Reply To This...
DavidOctober 29th 2013.

Graham Stringer piece was written before Balls decided to stick the boor into it.No doubt he is furious,because Balls was also closely involved with Gordon a Brown,a man Stringer declared was unfit to to lead the Labour Party.

AnonymousOctober 29th 2013.

QUOTE; "In recent years, only £12bn investment has been committed to the North compared with £40 billion in London..." Yes - key strategic infrastructure decisions taken by Mr Ball's LAST LABOUR GOVERNMENT! I keep telling youse, these champagne socialist Labour governments have "no vision" for northern cities, other than social subsidy & encouraging a dependancy culture on their overly centralised state. Hence they never invest in our transport infrastructure - ONLY their beloved South East's, where they all want to live in their Georgian town house splendour of course.

AnonymousOctober 30th 2013.

The council and other public bodies will always back schemes like HS2. Whatever happens such schemes always represent lucrative work for them in administration, regulation and revenue raising. They even get lots of work in any retrospective inquiries to find out why things didn't turn out as expected. They have nothing to lose from any financial losses because they know they'll stay in business and their 'officers' will stay in their cushy jobs.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 30th 2013.


Michael KingOctober 30th 2013.

Build It. And they will travel/

Ghostly TomOctober 30th 2013.

Manchester doesn't need fast rail links to London, we have them already. What it does need is fast rail links to Paris, Amsterdam Brussels, Barcelona..... This project will provide them. It will be built. It's great that the local Labour is on board but the national Labour Party has behaved disgracefully recently with its ambivalent support for the project. Greater Manchester needs a Boris to fight our corner, someone with his charisma to put across the point on Manchester and other northern cities. In France every city connected by high speed trains has seen an increase in their fortunes (Radio 4 today). It's an opportunity that we must not let slip through our fingers while politicians in Westminster use it to score party political points.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
DavidOctober 30th 2013.

Every city in a france has a mayor who is a major political figure.Chirac was mayor of Paris before he was president of France.Sadly we have a leader of Manchester who has zero media presence.

Ghostly TomOctober 31st 2013.

Love him or loathe him you have to have respect for Boris. He's great at promoting London's cause at every opportunity. Look at his recent trip to China. He has a national and international presence. Greater Manchester needs someone like this but I am at a loss to find a local person of such a stature. And it has to be for GREATER Manchester, not just the centre of the city region. When people from outside the city look at a map it's the boundary of Greater Manchester that they regard as Manchester. Manchester is doing well as it is but would do a lot better if it reorganised its geography.

Calum McGNovember 1st 2013.

Tom, you say "In France every city connected by high speed trains has seen an increase in their fortunes" but you also say "Manchester doesn't need fast rail links to London, we have them already.". As someone who regularly visits London on business, we DO need more capacity and we WOULD massively benefit from a faster connection. Why travel at 125mph when you can travel at 225mph and be in your meeting sooner?

Ghostly TomNovember 2nd 2013.

Just pointing the speed isn't the important thing, people work on the train, it s not lost time. I do it myself when I go down. The really important thing is the connection to London and via HS2 to places in Europe. That's what Manchester needs. And I support the building of HS2 but am not that interested in the speed. After having accomplished my work on the trainit's nice to have a bit of time to myself before starting again in London. But I still this HS2 is vital to Manchester's development. We need to be connected to this Europe wide system.

I heart DavidOctober 30th 2013.

Giz a kiss David

AnonymousOctober 31st 2013.

the report is, like its predecessor, very selective in its evidence. what the above piece fails to acknowledge is that actually down-grades the economic benefits of HS2 to Manchester from £2.30 from £2.50 for every pound spent. this is very poor return, particularly as there is a variable factor of about 1%. The report also overlooks the detrimental impact of HS2 on other towns and cities in the north-west and elsewhere in the UK not directly linked. The report also fails to address the lack of good rail links to other parts of the UK. HS2 will improve the poor rail connectivity of Manchester to the rest of the UK. it will not even make travel to Leeds any quicker for most Mancunians. the key drawback of HS2 is that it extends the perception that economic growth can only be achieved through the strengthening of tri-lateral links between Manchester, Birmingham and London. There is no evidence in the report that it will aid in any significant sense the rebalancing of the economy away from London and the south-east to the rest of the UK. That Labour's MPs support it across Manchester highlights their myopic faith in vanity projects that lack sufficient evidential foundations. Please read this excellent chapter by Professor Paul Salveson on HS2 from his latest book Railpolitik - a sane voice in an increasing skewed debate that ManCon appears happy to support www.lwbooks.co.uk/…/Railpolitik_chapter8.pdf…

1 Response: Reply To This...
DavidNovember 2nd 2013.

It's no more selective than the opponents of HS are in inflating the financial costs.For instance now you are suggesting its a waste of money because if does not connect to every single large town or city,if it did then you would no doubt then complain it is now too expensive and should be scrapped. HS is not designed to improve rail connectivity regionally,other projects like the Northern a Hub are designed to aaddress that.It is not designed either to be a commuting line,we have Metrolink and other projects that can address that. Also HS will provide not just fast links to London but also eventually to Scotland and the continent. After years of all transport spending going on London,we have a project that will benefit the north,yet we have people in the north who want to scrap it.Would you be happier if the Tory government instead was choosing to fund Boris's new airport plan?.

AnonymousNovember 3rd 2013.

For HS2 south of Birmingham (stage 1) Network Rail has reports for all the major areas on the route. These are about how HS2/1 avoids the risks to congestion on the WGML on commuter traffic into and out of London. NR have forecast that without as new line these risks would verybe high. They will do the same for Stage Two when the route is actually fixed. Can I mention again the major investment in the Liverpool to Leeds/Sheffield line and the Manchester Hub. Transport in GM is run by TfGM and the Combined Authority I strongly support an elected mayor but I don't think the eleven Councils would agree. We will have to struggle on with the one we have got.

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