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UK’s largest cities seek HS2 pledge from Number 10

Ten largest cities outside London present declaration to the Prime Minister calling for the fast delivery of High Speed 2 (HS2).

Cllr James Lewis just behind David Cameron at the presentation of the HS2 Declaration in 10 Downing StreetMetro Chairman Cllr James Lewis was among leaders from the UK’s 10 largest cities outside of London presented a signed declaration to the Prime Minister calling for the fast delivery of High Speed 2 (HS2) and a commitment to bring about the creation of a full high-speed network.

The declaration from Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield states:

  • the Government must make the most of the untapped economic potential of the UK’s biggest cities and that without this commitment, national growth will be constrained for years to come;
  • the whole of Parliament must unite and press on with the Hybrid Bill for Phase 1 and deliver with all speed plans for Phase 2;
  • that the cities want to explore with Government the costs and benefits of expanding a network that extends High Speed 2 to all of the great cities of our country.
  • upgrades to the UK’s rail network are no longer enough. The only solution is a major injection of rail capacity and long-term infrastructure investment to secure the economic future the UK needs.
  • that the cities look forward to working with successive Governments to ensure that the maximum economic benefit is extracted from this investment.

After delivering the declaration the 10 cities’ representatives went on to a national Summit bringing together 150 national and international figures to discuss how greater devolution to the UK’s cities can benefit the UK economy by increasing GDP, jobs and tax revenues.

Denmark

The Summit’s Prospectus predicts that by 2030 – before HS2 is completed – the Core Cities urban areas could put 1.16 million more jobs and £222 billion into the UK economy. That is, the Prospectus points out, the equivalent of adding the entire economy of Denmark to the UK or almost £14,000 for every person living in a Core City urban area.

 The Core Cities' two key objectives set out in the prospectus are to outperform the national economy (by 2028) and to become financially independent of Government. At present, in England, cities only directly control about 5% of all the taxes raised from local people and businesses, with 95% going straight to the Government. The prospectus presents a nine-point plan for achieving this vision.

Localism

“This Government has stated its commitment to localism and we are moving towards that with the creation of the West Yorkshire Transport Fund, which through the new Combined Authority will give us the chance to make our own decisions on transport, regeneration and housing,” said Cllr Lewis.

“We now need to see the Government ensuring all its policies are in line so that we can push ahead with these initiatives and others, such as the devolution of responsibility for the North of England's rail services."