Readers, including Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram, the mayors of Greater Manchester and Liverpool city region respectively, respond to Simon Jenkins’ article advocating the scrapping of HS2

We write in response to Simon Jenkins’ article (This is a final chance to scrap HS2. The north now needs HS3, 16 April). HS2 is backed by leaders in the north. The capacity that HS2 provides makes Northern Powerhouse Rail possible, and without both we won’t reach our economic potential. In the north, we have been held back because of a transport infrastructure that is simply not good enough, with a lack of capacity to support fast and frequent connections for routes serving our towns and cities. HS2, linked with Northern Powerhouse Rail, will make it easier for people to move between towns and cities, help businesses connect with each other and their customers, and act as a catalyst for local growth.

Across the country, HS2 station sites have been preparing for the arrival of the new railway by drawing up economic plans to take advantage of better connections and released capacity. The economic output of Greater Manchester could double to around £132bn by 2050, contributing at least 40,000 new jobs. Liverpool city region forecasts £15bn of economic growth and 24,000 new jobs. The prize is similar across the north and Midlands, with plans along the HS2 route showing nearly 500,000 jobs can be created if we just get on with it. We don’t need London commentators telling northern leaders what we need. No one asked London to choose between HS2 and Crossrail. We know what we need. We need HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail.
Andy Burnham Mayor of Greater Manchester and Steve Rotheram Mayor of the Liverpool city region

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