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".
Today is the final day for the public to have their say on the HS2 rail link connecting Manchester to the south.
There has been strong opposition to the plans along parts of the route. Since the consultation opened on 17 July last year HS2 Ltd has held more than 37 public information events all along the line of the proposed route. Head of consultation Farahnaz Ashouri said:
"I very much encourage people to have their say on the proposed route of the new high speed line that will connect up Leeds and Manchester to Birmingham. It is vitally important that we get their local knowledge.
People can respond to the consultation here.
Once the consultation closes on 31 January, the independent report on the responses will be submitted to the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin. He will then announce the government's decision on the Phase Two route towards the end of the year.
Consultation is drawing to a close on the route the government's proposed high-speed train line will take in the North West.HS2 will mean shorter journeys between the region and London.
MPs Simon Danczuk, Mark Hunter and Jake Berry discuss the scheme on tonight's Party People at 11.35pm on ITV.Our correspondent Andy Bonner has been to meet the company with the job of selling HS2 to the undecided.
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."