Cameron defends high-speed rail: whole country will benefit
A new £50 billion high-speed rail link between London and the north is vital for “all of our country”, David Cameron has said.
And the Prime Minister claimed Labour would get past its “wobble” over the so-called HS2 programme after Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls this week hinted the public money could be better spent elsewhere.
The Tory leader, calling the scheme the “north-south railway line”, said the party “will be making the case very strongly” for the project at its conference in Manchester, starting on Sunday.
MPs in the far South West have warned the region will be left behind as commuters and tourists have to make do with a second-rate rail service.
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But Mr Cameron said in the next Parliament nearly three times as much will be spent on other rail and transport projects, indicating other regions would not be overlooked.
Mr Cameron said: “This is important to all of our country. I want a high-speed rail service that doesn’t just get people from London to Brussels or London to Paris.
“I want a high-speed rail service that gets people from London to Manchester, from Leeds to Birmingham. We are connecting up our country.
“We will be making a big argument next week about how to have a modern, successful economy in a competitive global world. It seems to me that transport infrastructure is a key part of that.
“There are plenty of people who argued against the M25, the M1, the Severn Bridge - if we hadn’t built these things, our country would not be as competitive and successful as it is today.”
He added: “I don't believe Labour in the end will go wobbly on it because they would be completely turning their backs on the North of England; they would be betraying people in Yorkshire; they would be letting down people in Manchester.”