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
England and Wales could see drink-driving limit fall to 50mg if same measure proves successful in Scotland, minister suggests.
Aaren O'Connor, 25, did not know she had been shot and kept telling dad David "my head hurts" before becoming incoherent.
Britons are shunning trips to Disneyland Paris following the November terror attacks in the French capital.