Chancellor George Osborne today suggested a possible third High-Speed railway, linking Leeds with the other major Northern industrial cities of Manchester, Liverpool and Hull.
Mr Osborne, who was speaking at Manchester’s Museum of Science and Technology, likened the Northern cities to their Premiership football teams, suggesting that if the stars of each team were to join together they would be capable of “wiping the floor” with the rest of the competition.
The Chancellor aims to have this implemented as part of a second phase to the controversial HS2 project to try and build “a northern powerhouse” consisting of “a collection of Northern cities”. The Chancellor’s aim is to make the “northern belt radically more connected from east to west” to boost the economy in the North of England.
The proposal could see journey times between Leeds and Manchester dramatically cut and consequently, after HS2 is completed, could see times between Leeds and London also cut. This would mean students in the city can get to their home towns and to work experience placements across the country quicker and easier than they currently can. It also raises the prospect after graduation of commuting to work in other northern cities whilst still residing in Leeds.
First-year Spanish student Becki told Leeds Student she feels “HS3 would be of great use” as she lives south of Birmingham and so having a high-speed rail link to Manchester and on towards London “would significantly cut” her journey time back to seeing family, should she choose to stay in the city after graduation.
The idea is still in its very early stages and there has been no date set for any potential implementation of it, leading the Labour party’s Keith Wakefield to say Mr Osborne has to show his suggestion was more than “pre-general election rhetoric”.
Whether or not the plan will come in is uncertain, but there is growing pressure to rebalance the economy away from London, suggesting something will be announced in the near future.
Image courtesy of The Independent