Responding to the announcement that the Birmingham to Crewe leg of HS2 will be delayed by two years, Lord McLoughlin, Chair of Transport for the North, said:

“This is a disappointing announcement. But I was reassured by the Transport Secretary that we are still getting HS2 to Manchester, and the recommitment to NPR is welcome.

“However, it needs to be understood whether or not these cost savings can be realised while still achieving the same desired outcome and conditional outputs. The government needs to avoid being penny wise and pound foolish, as delays don’t necessarily lead to savings, and in fact can drive costs upwards.

“Nevertheless, the political leaders of the North who sit on our Board have made their collective position very clear – we must transform the North by building both HS2 and NPR in full.

“Taken together, both projects unlock the North’s economy from the existing position of poor infrastructure that has held it back. It is the communities and businesses across the North of England who are suffering most by any delay or inaction in delivering on these schemes.”