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Osborne: New Manchester-Leeds rail link would 'boost North'

A new high-speed rail connection between Manchester and Leeds could help create an economic powerhouse to rival London, George Osborne will say later today. There are no plans to extend the planned high-speed rail network to the North East.

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Think-tank dismisses high-speed rail "vanity project"

The Institute of Economic Affairs *(IEA) *has dismissed George Osborne's idea of a new high-speed rail network for the North, calling it a "costly vanity project".

“The relatively short distances between northern cities mean high-speed rail is an expensive and inefficient way of linking them. Because northern conurbations are spread out geographically and include numerous different towns, high-speed trains between the largest city centres would make little difference to door-to-door journey times for a high proportion of travellers.

“The Chancellor should focus on smaller-scale schemes that deliver high returns for the taxpayer or, better still, that can be financed privately, rather than concocting a headline-grabbing vanity project to attract votes.

“Not content with wasting tens of billions on the loss-making HS2 scheme, George Osborne is now threatening to compound the error by forcing taxpayers to fund HS3.”

– Dr Richard Wellings, Deputy Editorial Director

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