Former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling has strongly attacked the HS2 rail project saying its economic benefits are "highly contentious".
Former business secretary Lord Mandelson says the proposed HS2 rail link between London and the North could be "an expensive mistake".
Chancellor George Osborne has been accused of trying to divert the route the planned high-speed HS2 rail line will take.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has said that those who need to sell their house but struggle because of the HS2 plans will still be helped and that he wants the line, "to create jobs and prosperity not to harm it."
"I understand how proposals like this can affect the property markets so compensation will be as generous as on the first phase, and more generous then when we built the motorways."
Transport Secretary says that the HS2 will be first main line north of London for nearly 120 years.
Patrick McLoughlin has told the House of Commons that it is not just about faster trains to London - but about how our greatest cities are linked.
Mr McLoughlin said he is determined that HS2 benefits will be spread much wider than just those places served by the line.
The Prime Minister says the money to pay for HS2 will need to come from 'a balance' between the Government and 'the train user' - but expensive tickets are necessary for 'Britain to be a success'. See the full interview above.
There has been mixed reaction to plans to extend a high speed rail line to Manchester.
The £33billion project will dramatically reduce journey times to London, however critics say it will ruin parts of the Cheshire countryside.
David Cameron was resolute when asked about Tory opposition to the HS2 project: "This is going to happen. I have been a strong supporter right from the start." The Prime Minister continued:
– Prime Minister David Cameron
These are difficult economic times, but I think that is precisely the time you should be planning for the future, working out how we link up the cities of our country, how we reduce journey times, how we spread wealth and prosperity around the country.
We do need to rebalance the economy, it has been too dominated by the South and by certain industries and high speed rail will really help to create a better balanced economy.
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.
Record producer and rail enthusiast Pete Waterman, who campaigned for HS2 to go to the North West, has welcomed the announcement of an extension of the network to Manchester.
He said: "This makes London and Manchester so close that you could commute every day."
Network Rail has called the government's announcement of the HS2 extension a "game-changer" for Britain's railway network. Chief executive David Higgins said:
– David Higgins, chief executive, network rail
Unprecedented growth in the last ten years has seen passenger journeys grow by 50 per cent to almost 1.5bn a year and that number is set to continue to grow. More people use the railways today than at any time since the Second World War, on a network half the size it was then ...
This is a rare chance to stop playing catch-up on capacity.
He added that Network Rail was already planning to ensure that HS2 would integrate with the existing network with as little disruption as possible.
The chief executive of Manchester Airport owner MAG, Charlie Cornish, has welcomed the news that the HS2 route will stop off at the airport.
"Along with the city centre station, it will provide an additional boost to the economy of the region.”