Prime Minister David Cameron says HS2 will create 100,000 jobs.
He added: “Linking communities and businesses across the country and shrinking the distances between our greatest cities, High Speed Rail is an engine for growth that will help to drive regional regeneration.
“We are in a global race and this Government’s decision to make High Speed Rail a reality is another example of the action we taking to equip Britain to compete and thrive in that race.
"High Speed Rail is a catalyst that will help to secure economic prosperity across Britain, rebalance our economy and support tens of thousands of jobs.”
More top news
A nurse who is to be honoured with OBE for running an Ebola treatment unit has described the military operation in Sierra Leone as "scary".
Friday morning's forecast for the east of the region
Friday morning's forecast for the west of the region