Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said he has "no doubt" the controversial High Speed 2 rail scheme will benefit the whole country, after claims it could cost some cities hundreds of millions of pounds.
Mr McLouglin said the project was "vital" for the economy's long-term health, adding: "It's of no doubt to me that it's beneficial to the UK. We need to make sure our cities in the north are able to compete with the rest of Europe as well."
More top news
Warmer - even without wall to wall blue skies
The telecoms company announced a 9% rise in profits after increasing prices for TV and broadband customers.
Millions of voters headed to the polls to vote in today's local elections. Here is when the results are expected in.