Delivering transformational economic and social benefit to our region - HS2
The eastern leg of HS2 offers the opportunity to realise transformational economic and social benefit to our region and whilst I am reassured that the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, has recently confirmed that the eastern leg of HS2 will be built, but it would be unacceptable for any delays to mean Yorkshire is left behind. We have already seen too many years of wrangling over different options for routes and stations, meaning that the western leg to Manchester is well ahead of us in its design and development.
We are going to complete HS2 and include HS2 on the eastern leg to Leeds. And the only question that we have is how to better integrate that with plans which were developed a very long way since HS2 was first dreamt up all those decades ago and that pertains to the Northern Powerhouse Rail. Grant Shapps
I therefore welcome the Secretary of State’s view that by building in a smarter way we will see a dramatically improved delivery date. I further welcome the fact that the Integrated Review will decide once and for all on the best way to integrate HS2 with Northern Powerhouse Rail and other big improvements in the North.
A high-speed rail network branching out north, south, east, and west from Sheffield offers real opportunities for South Yorkshire to cement its place at the heart of an integrated northern economic powerhouse.
Building the eastern leg of HS2 in full will not just provide better inter-city rail links but will also work as a catalyst for substantial improvements to our local public transport networks here in South Yorkshire, and across Penistone and Stocksbridge. However, the arrival of HS2 trains in Sheffield means we will need more capacity for, and better integration of, commuter services from Penistone, Barnsley and Chapeltown, as well as the new passenger services that I'm campaigning for between Stockbridge and Sheffield. Residents of our towns and villages must not miss out of the benefits of big-ticket infrastructure improvements.
HS2 is also a great opportunity for us to support our domestic supply chains, and our steel industry in particular. The Government has said that it is in the process of reforming procurement rules, so why not start by committing to using as much UK-made steel as possible for HS2? The best way to support jobs and economic growth in British manufacturing is to use their high quality, environmentally friendly products in our domestic infrastructure projects.
I back HS2 coming to South Yorkshire because it has the potential to supercharge our economy and transform our connectivity. For too long we have missed out due to our inferior transport links, and this is a great opportunity to change that for good.