Northern cities could be offered "serious devolution of powers and budgets" in return for adopting elected mayors.
Liverpool Riverside Labour MP says building a new high speed rail link between London and the North West is essential
Former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling has strongly attacked the HS2 rail project saying its economic benefits are "highly contentious".
The economic impact the High Speed rail link could have on Merseyside will be discussed today. The HS2 taskforce will meet with key business leaders in the city to look at how it will benefit local firms.
Shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh has said that Labour supports the HS2 plan as it will address the need for more rail capacity across the country.
She said: "Labour supports HS2 because we must address the capacity problems that mean thousands of commuters face cramped, miserable journeys into Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and London.
"However, three years of Government delays and mismanagement has caused costs to balloon. Incompetent ministers have only just launched the consultation on phase 2 of the route, despite the fact that it was being worked on when Labour were in government."
The HS2 Hybrid Bill that is to go before Parliament will give details on how the first phase of the high speed rail project should progress.
The High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill will provide government powers to allow the construction and operation of the railway.
It will outline powers to:
- build and maintain the first phase of HS2 and its associated works, including secure planning permission for the works;
- compulsorily acquire interests in the land required;
- affect or change rights of way, including the stopping-up or diversion of highways and waterways (permanently or temporarily);
- modify infrastructure belonging to statutory undertakers (e.g. utility companies);
- carry out protective works to buildings and third-party infrastructure.
Tory grandee Lord Heseltine - a former Minister for Merseyside - has declared his support for the £50 billion HS2 high-speed rail project.
The one time Deputy Prime Minister says the scheme's timetable should be accelerated and that the private sector should contribute to the cost.
He says: "HS2 is about our country's competitiveness for a half century or more.
"It is about so many more people sharing growth that has, for too long, been concentrated on London and the South East.
The first phase of HS2 is due for completion in 2026, with the second phase, taking the line to north east and north west England, due to be completed by 2032/33
34 MPs voted against plans to begin the process of starting the rail project. They were debating whether or not to release funds to pay for surveys, buy property and compensate evicted residents. 350 voted in favour.
I understand Tory MP for Bury North David Nuttall voted against the government.
An exhibition showing detailed plans for the proposed high speed rail link from London to Manchester opens today.
HS2 will link the cities in the second phase of the scheme which is due to open in 21 years time.
The HS2 Growth Taskforce will be in Manchester as part of a series of roadshows designed to ensure regions maximise the benefits of high speed rail.
The Taxpayers' Alliance says more coaches should be way forward rather than the HS2 rail link, which would speed up journeys between London and the North.
Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:
"As the projected costs have increased dramatically, the already fragile case for HS2 has completely disintegrated.
"There are far cheaper and better ways of substantially increasing capacity much more quickly on the route, not least by reducing the number of first class carriages and lengthening the trains."
Talks take place later on the impact the High Speed rail link could have on Merseyside. A meeting between the HS2 board and regional leaders will look at the effect on freight travel in particular.
It is only the second time that the board has held such a meeting outside London and the first location where a direct high speed link is not currently planned.
Merseytravel Chair, Cllr Liam Robinson, said: "Better, faster, more reliable links through HS2 are welcome, but that is just part of the picture.
"Just as important is the additional transport development it will stimulate and the benefits it will bring to existing networks, helping raise the aspirations of the City Region's economic growth plan."
Planners want to create a new ‘gateway quarter’ modelled on Amsterdam and New York, centred around a new high-speed rail link terminal.