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Report reveals towns that could lose out because of HS2

A report found that HS2 will have a net positive economic impact, but for for all towns Photo: PA

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has defended the controversial High Speed 2 (HS2) project amid claims it could cost some cities hundreds of millions of pounds.

Mr McLoughlin insisted he had "no doubt" that the scheme would benefit the UK as a whole, describing it as "vital" for the long-term health of the economy.

The comments came after previously unreleased research listed more than 50 areas that are likely to end up worse off - including Bristol, Cambridge and Aberdeen.

In September ministers hailed the KPMG report for concluding that HS2 would boost the British economy by £15 billion a year.

ITV News' Political Correspondent Claire Stewart reports:

The report listed the areas that would benefit - such as Greater London by £2.8 billion and the West Midlands by £1.5 billion - but it omitted details of those that would end up worse off:

  • Aberdeen - £220 million worse off
  • Cambridge - £127 million
  • Bristol - £101 million
  • Essex south - £151 million.

The full findings were released in response to a Freedom of Information request, and passed to the BBC's Newsnight programme.

Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Mr McLouglin said that the net benefits for the country would outweigh the negative impacts:

All these investments that we are looking at is to serve the people of the UK, to make the UK a place where we attract investment.

It's of no doubt to me that it's beneficial to the UK. We need to make sure our cities in the north are able to compete with the rest of Europe as well.

– Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary

The chief executive of HS2 Ltd, Alison Munro, said that the places that are on the high-speed route are likely to benefit most from the project.

"But high-speed two isn't the only investment that the Government is making. Over the next five years it is planning to spend £73 billion on transport infrastructures," she added.