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".
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.
The estimated cost of building the controversial High Speed 2 rail network, which will travel through parts of Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire has doubled to at least £80 billion, The Sunday Telegraph has reported.
A 58-page independent report by the Institute of Economic Affairs, due out tomorrow, will say that the spiralling cost of construction means HS2 now "defies economic logic" and should be cancelled.
The institute's report also apparently claims the £80 billion cost of HS2 could create "£320 billion of economic value" if it were invested in road, rail or other transport projects instead.
"All construction access routes" have been considered as part of plans for the HS2 rail route, a project spokesman has told the Mail on Sunday, in response to campaigners' claims of widespread disruption.
He said the public had been consulted on the matter and offered the chance to "express potential concerns or suggest alternatives" and would continue to be involved.
– HS2 spokesman
We have sought to provide construction access with minimal disruption and will continue to work with local communities to take on board their views.
In developing the subsequent formal Environmental Statement, we will be considering how we can further reduce any adverse impacts.
The construction of the HS2 rail project will affect the lives of more than half a million people across Middle England, campaigners have said, including those living up to 25 miles from the controversial train route.
They say towns along a 40 mile wide corridor through Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Warwickshire will be affected by the millions of extra lorry journeys during the building process.
The estimations by the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) come from analysis of information it requested from the HS2 project.
Campaigner Ralph Smyth condemned HS2 for its reluctance to hand over the information, saying: "It is not acceptable that it took a charity to uncover this."
Business leaders from the North West have joined a panel set up by the government to look into the impact of the proposed High Speed 2 rail project.
The government believes HS2, which is expected to slash journey times between London and the north west, will create thousands of jobs.
However campaigners have protested about the lasting effect the proposed line will have on the enviroment.
Lord Deighton ,Commercial Secretary to the Treasury
The consultation process starts today into the proposed High Speed Rail link (HS2) between London and Manchester.
HS2 will link the cities in the second phase of the scheme which is due to open in 21 years time.
A jobs summit is being launched to recruit engineers and apprentices.
Manchester City Council will be giving evidence in parliament today on the High Speed rail link.
HS2 will link London with Manchester in the second phase of the scheme which is due to open in 21 years time.