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Osborne: A closely linked North could 'take on world'

George Osborne will say a collection of northern cities linked closer together by new transport infrastructure could "take on the world" as he bids to end London's "unhealthy" economic dominance.

The Chancellor will say in a keynote speech in Manchester today:

We need an ambitious plan to make the cities and towns here in this northern belt radically more connected from east to west - to create the equivalent of travelling around a single global city.

As well as fixing the roads, that means considering a new high speed rail link.

Today I want us to start thinking about whether to build a new high-speed rail connection east-west from Manchester to Leeds.

– Chancellor George Osborne

Chancellor sets out vision for 'Northern Powerhouse'

A new high-speed rail connection and improved roads between England's northern cities could help create an economic powerhouse to rival London, George Osborne will say today.

He will use a speech to say an upgraded, link between Manchester and Leeds should be considered as part of the review of the second phase of the project. The Chancellor will say he wants travelling through towns and cities in the north to be as easy as moving around a major global metropolis.

Under current plans the £50 billion HS2 high-speed rail project will link London to Birmingham in its first stage, before creating a Y-shaped network with lines to Manchester and Leeds by 2032/33.

We need an ambitious plan to make the cities and towns here in this northern belt radically more connected from east to west - to create the equivalent of travelling around a single global city.

As well as fixing the roads, that means considering a new high speed rail link. Today I want us to start thinking about whether to build a new high-speed rail connection east-west from Manchester to Leeds."

– Chancellor George Osborne

Nobody will believe the Tories can deliver the jobs, growth and investment we need for the north of England. Regional growth divides have widened markedly since 2010. The Tories scrapped Labour's successful regional development agencies, failed to implement Lord Heseltine's growth report and are planning to cut infrastructure investment next year.

On high-speed rail, we said months ago that we need value for money for the taxpayer and to improve the existing plans to maximise the benefits for the whole country and strengthen the links between northern cities. Ministers need finally to start listening."

– Shadow chancellor Ed Balls

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Osborne welcomes 'huge boost' from HS2

Chancellor George Osborne said HS2 will be a "huge boost" in the North West and will create thousands of jobs.

The second phase of the HS2 high speed rail network is still subject to a consultation, but the government is proposing building could begin around 2025, with the line opening by 2033.

Osborne spoke to ITV News about the announcement at his visit to Lucchini UK, a Manchester-based manufacturers, which makes train wheels and other specialist items for the railway industry.

George Osborne visits a train wheel maker in Manchester following HS2 announcement

The Chancellor George Osborne at Lucchini UK in Manchester Credit: Ashley Derricott

The Chancellor George Osborne has visited a train wheel maker in Trafford Park following the announcement on HS2 rail link.

He visited Lucchini UK, a Manchester-based manufacturers, which makes train wheels and other specialist items for the railway industry.

National

Osborne: Economic case for HS2 'pretty compelling'

Chancellor George Osborne said HS2 will be an "engine for growth" in the North and Midlands, and will create tens of thousands of jobs.

He acknowledged that communities along its route would face a "very difficult" disruption to their lives, but said the economic benefits were "pretty compelling". He told BBC Breakfast:

I think it is the engine for growth in the North and the Midlands of this country. I think it is going to create tens of thousands of jobs in Manchester and across our great cities.

In the end, as a country, you have got to make those long-term choices. If our predecessors hadn't decided to build the railways in the Victorian times or the motorways in the middle part of the 20th century, then we wouldn't have those things today.

– Chancellor George Osborne
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