Business leaders across the North issued a clear and urgent message to government in the report: deliver HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) in full.
A survey of 5,000 businesses of all sizes on the benefits to business of Northern Powerhouse Rail showed they overwhelmingly backed plans for NPR, the £39bn transformational east-west connectivity across the Northern Powerhouse which would create massive economic growth, allow young people to access skilled jobs and stimulate overseas investment.
It also said linking NPR with HS2 Phase 2b – linking Leeds and Manchester with the high-speed network – would provide a significant step to rebalancing the UK economy, making the North as prosperous as the South and eradicating the North-South divide.
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The Backing Northern Powerhouse Rail report by law firm Addleshaw Goddard and the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, showed 99 per cent believe NPR would raise productivity; 85 per cent believe it would increase inward investment; 75 per cent state a commitment to deliver NPR would let them to make future investment decisions and 43 per cent would look to expand or relocate to encourage growth.
The outline business case for NPR is currently being considered by government.
With a link to HS2 it would take the number of people able to reach four or more Northern cities within an hour from 10,000 to 1.3m.
Transport for the North Chairman John Cridland added: “To have the North’s business voices clearly backing Northern Powerhouse Rail is extremely encouraging. We need the communities and businesses to continue championing the critical need for such investment as it gains momentum.
“We know investing in infrastructure will connect the North like never before and create places where businesses are clamouring to invest, enabled by strong transport links. Northern Powerhouse Rail is a key part.”