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Chancellor George Osborne has announced he wants to build a new high-speed rail link between Manchester and Leeds.
The so-called HS3 would help create a “northern powerhouse” and rebalance the UK economy, which London currently “dominates”, Osborne said in a speech in Manchester today (June 23).
He said the plan could cost up to £7 billion, but could be cheaper if existing rail lines were updated.
Osborne said: "The cities of the North are individually strong, but collectively not strong enough. The whole is less than the sum of its parts. So the powerhouse of London dominates more and more. And that's not healthy for our economy. It's not good for our country.
"We need a northern powerhouse too. Not one city, but a collection of northern cities - sufficiently close to each other that combined they can take on the world. Able to provide jobs and opportunities and security to the many, many people who live here, and for whom this is all about."
The existing controversial HS2 project, which has come under fire from both political sides, would link London to Birmingham by 2026, with tracks to cities in the north of England including Leeds and Manchester, built by 2030.
Ahead of Osborne’s speech shadow chancellor Ed Balls said the public has lost faith in Tories ability to deliver growth in the north.
“Nobody will believe the Tories can deliver the jobs, growth and investment we need for the north of England.”
“On high-speed rail, we said months ago that we need value for money for the taxpayer and to improve the existing plans to maximise the benefits for the whole country and strengthen the links between northern cities. Ministers need finally to start listening.”