The Nordic region will be “abbreviated” by Boris Johnson over railway upgrades, a Conservative MP has warned.
Philip Davies, MP for Shipley, warned that it would be a “massive disappointment and a huge missed opportunity” if a cross-country connection between Manchester and Leeds, via Bradford, is not part of the plan announced later in the week.
He joined a host of conservative and Labor voices who have expressed concern over proposals that the government could scale down its ambition on rail in favor of quick-fix schemes that will bring together parts of the existing network.
While this may solve some of the problems of capacity and speed in parts of the North, MPs fear that without a new east-to-west connection via Bradford, larger cities will be left behind and young people will continue to travel to others. better-connected areas.
Reports ahead of the big announcement on Thursday suggest that part of the new eastern part of HS2 will be scrapped, with the line stopping at East Midlands Parkway instead of Leeds, as previously planned.
Other sections of the existing railway route between Leeds and Sheffield and Manchester and Crewe will be upgraded, but a connection between Manchester and Leeds via Bradford has not been confirmed.
A large part of the Northern Powerhouse Rail plan, which the Prime Minister has previously promised to support, will improve access to major cities for people living in high-unemployment areas.
Sir. Davies, whose constituency is just north of Bradford, said it would be “completely unacceptable” to scrap the connection and let his constituents feel let down.
But amid allegations that the Treasury Department has been forced to reconsider cost plans, he accused political leaders in the Midlands and North of focusing too much attention on HS2 instead of the Northern Powerhouse Rails east-west route.
“The problem has never been getting to London, the problem is getting over the North itself,” Mr Davies said.
“The strategy of some city council and business leaders in the north to ask for everything is blown up in their faces, and as a result, the north will be shortened.
“If the Northern Powerhouse connection does not go ahead due to overconsumption on HS2, they should hang their heads in shame.
“Anything less than the new link would be a huge disappointment and a huge missed opportunity.”
Other MPs in the region have reiterated his concerns, and Labor’s Naz Shah, MP for Bradford West, told Sky News she is “shaken” by allegations that the east-west route will not continue.
“Bradford has the fastest growing rate of child poverty in the country, and this is the one thing that can make a real difference,” she said.
“The government is talking about a level up, but it is failing the younger generation.”
The city is one of the largest in the UK, but has high levels of youth unemployment, deprivation and inequality. According to a recent report, it also has the worst rail links in any British city.
Campaigners claim that a new line between Manchester and Leeds via Bradford would reduce travel time and increase capacity on the line, while encouraging companies to establish themselves in the city.
Ms Shah warned that the train station is currently a “dead end” as services have to get in and out of the station via one route, forcing the trains to back up on their own.
Making it easier to get between the major northern cities by public transport would also reduce car consumption and help meet the CO2 reduction targets.
But others warn that transportation is not the silver bullet for cities like Bradford.
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Paul Swinney, director of policy and research at the Center for Cities, said improving skills and developing better transport links within cities instead of between them would make a bigger difference.
Government sources have been reluctant to comment on the railway plans before they are fully released on Thursday.
Still, a finance minister denied that any change to previously supported schemes was down to cost, but was instead a desire to deliver changes as soon as possible.
The Prime Minister has on several occasions thrown his support behind the Manchester route to Leeds and stated in the 2019 manifesto that “an important part of our plan to upgrade Britain’s cities and regions is to connect them”.
He also argued that although talent is evenly distributed across the country, opportunities are not.
Johnson has promised to ensure that all children have the chance to do well, no matter where they are in the country.