Rishi Sunak's key promises to the Midlands after scrapping HS2 northern leg

Split image. Left image: Rishi Sunak. Right image: Artist impression of a HS2 train.
The PM announced today that he is scrapping the northern leg of HS2 and reinvesting the money. Credit: PA

Rishi Sunak has promised the £36 billion previously ring-fenced funding for HS2 will be reinvested across the country, pledging £1.5 billion for the East Midlands Combined Authority and funding for the Midlands Rail Hub.

Speaking in his landmark speech at the Conservative Party conference the prime minister revealed how he plans to spend money "saved" by cancelling the Birmingham-Manchester leg of HS2, and where it will be reinvested in the Midlands.

Mr Sunak made a number of commitments to the Midlands; naming the Midlands Rail Hub and pledging to "help Andy Street extend the West Midlands Metro".

Key promises made to the Midlands

  • £9.6 billion reinvested into "the strong local and regional connections" in the Midlands

  • Delivering the Midlands Rail Hub connecting 50 stations, with funding increased to £1.75 billion - which will supposedly enable the "doubling" of capacity between Leicester and Birmingham

  • The Midlands will have guaranteed funding of £1.5 billion for its City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement as it becomes a Combined Authority next year

  • Funding improvements to the A50 corridor between Stoke and Derby to reduce congestion

  • Reopening the Ivanhoe Line between Leicester and Burton

  • £250 million of funding for smaller road schemes across the Midlands

  • £650 million for a Midlands Road Fund to be spent on new roads

  • £2.2 billion in seven-year settlements for Midlands councils

  • Increased bus funding; £220 million investment in Midlands bus services

  • Extended London-Leicester-Nottingham trains to Yorkshire and the North East

  • £2.2 billion to fix potholes in the Midlands

In Mr Sunak's speech at the Conservative Party Conference, he announced that "every region outside London will receive the same or more investment than they would have done with HS2 with quicker results."

"There is nothing ambitious about pouring more and more money into the wrong project," he said.

"For too long people in Westminster have invested in the transport they want, not the transport the rest of the country - particularly the North and the Midlands - wants and needs."

Rishi Sunak named some of the projects the Government will support in his speech at the Conservative Party conference Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

The PM continued, appealing to "those who disagree", asking them to "consider what we have just created with Network North."

"An alternative which in place of one delayed and overrunning project will now begin hundreds upon hundreds of new projects, large and small, road and rail, bus and train covering the whole country that will be delivered faster, that will see every region receiving more investment than they would have done," he said.

"You can’t have both, so those who wish to disagree with me, I respect that. But they should have the honesty to admit that they would now be cancelling the hundreds of alternative projects right across the country that people will benefit from instead."

After fears that the HS2 announcement would lead to his resignation, West Midlands mayor Andy Street has confirmed he will remain in his position.

The West Midlands leader said he thought about quitting the Tory party over HS2 - and said he is disappointed by the announcement but welcomes the compromise.

"I will remain a member of the Conservative Party," he said after Rishi Sunak cancelled the Birmingham-Manchester leg of the high-speed train line.

Mr Street added that he would like to run for another term as the Tory candidate in next year’s mayoral election.

"I intend as part of that to make good on the offer that the Prime Minister has put today to invest a lot more money in transport in the West Midlands, and to look further links between Birmingham and the rest of the West Midlands and the North," he said.

"He put that offer out very clearly today."

Tory mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street made a last-ditch appeal to Mr Sunak not to cancel the link between Birmingham and Manchester. Credit: PA Images

The PM also confirmed that the HS2 route from Euston to Birmingham will remain and that journey times would be cut by 30 minutes.

A new Euston development zone will be created, he says, to build new homes and deliver a station with the necessary capacity.

The £6.5 billion saved from the Euston site is to be given to the rest of the country.

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