Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin: HS2 fight "has been won" - work to start in next two years

 
Billy Ehrenberg
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Patrick McLoughlin (Source: Getty)

The £50bn battle over HS2 has been won and work on the project will begin in two years, according to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

During a speech in Leeds, McLoughlin said the controversial high speed trainline will be built in full, as the government had received a “massive vote of confidence” when it won the General Election outright.

The entire Y-shaped line – from London to Birmingham and then on to Leeds and Manchester, will be completed without money-saving scale-backs.

The claim that the result of the election gives the government a mandate to push ahead may be a point of contention: only three per cent of respondents to a YouGov survey said transport was the most important issue facing the country before the General Election, meaning the HS2 issue was less significant still to voters. That three per cent had fallen to two per cent in a poll published last week.

What is more, the latest survey on public attitudes to HS2 was negative: 48 per cent opposed the plan and only 30 per cent were in favour.

The government has said the scheme will create tens of thousands of jobs and will help transform the north of England into a Northern Powerhouse - but others have questioned its credentials.

The Queen’s speech last week contained legislation which will give approval to the first stage of the scheme – the London to Birmingham. Ascent for the extensions to Leeds and Manchester is expected to be given later this year.

The map below roughly shows the expected HS2 route, and the proposed HS3 route between Leeds and Manchester.

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