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Rishi Sunak Confirms Scrapping of Manchester Leg of HS2

Rishi Sunak Confirms Scrapping of Manchester Leg of HS2
04 October 2023 | Updated 26 October 2023

At the Conservative Party conference, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced his plans to scrap the remaining HS2 rail links.

The Birmingham to Euston line will be completed, but the link between the West Midlands and Manchester will be scrapped, saving “£36 billion” Rishi Sunak said. The savings will be reinvested in other rail projects in the North of England.

The management of the remaining Birmingham to Euston line will be revoked from the HS2 team, and the government will “oversee a change in leadership of the project to ensure maximum value for the taxpayer.”

Rishi Sunak said ”Our plan will drive far more growth and opportunity here in the north than a faster train to London ever would. And given how far along construction is, we will complete the line from Birmingham to Euston and yes, HS2 trains will still run here to Manchester and journey times will be cut between Manchester, Birmingham, and London by 30 minutes.”


“Costs for HS2 have more than doubled since forecast – phase one was originally meant to cost £20 billion but latest estimates are up to £45 billion. And the project has been repeatedly delayed.”

–Rishi Sunak

Prime Minister


Network North


Rishi Sunak also announced that he would improve connectivity across the North and Midlands with the new project Network North. This includes £2 billion for a new train station at Bradford, a new connection to Manchester and a £3.3 billion fund for road resurfacing. 

The government claims that original HS2 plans were “underpinned by assumptions which are no longer valid”, naming changing working patterns due to COVID-19. 

Rishi Sunak said: “Costs for HS2 have more than doubled since forecast – phase one was originally meant to cost £20 billion but latest estimates are up to £45 billion. And the project has been repeatedly delayed.”


Industry Reactions 



"The cancellation of the project is yet again, confirmation of the South being favoured over the North.”

–Simon Harris

CEO, Avrenim


Simon Harris, CEO of FM business Avrenim, says that the scrapping of HS2 confirms that the North is being left behind:

“We take longer to get around our northern region than it does to travel to the extremes of the country in some cases, which isn’t conducive to successful sustainable growth and ease of business. A truly inclusive growth strategy can strive to create a region where opportunities are accessible to all, regardless of background or location, ultimately leading to a more prosperous and cohesive region.

“Since its inception, the Northern Powerhouse initiative, and with it HS2, has brought attention to the regional political landscape, limitations of infrastructure and economic potential of the northern regions of England as a combined entity, and the cancellation of the project is yet again, confirmation of the South being favoured over the North.”  

James Forrester, Managing Director of Newcastle-based property developer, Stripe Property Group, said: "There will be no surprise at yet another government U-turn and more broken promises that will see many businesses and homeowners alike suffer, as a result.

“Of course, bold plans remain to connect the country, but it's fair to say that you'd be better off walking from London to Manchester instead of waiting on this government to deliver on its word.

“Yet another example of Westminster prioritising the prosperity of the capital, with little to no regard about the rest of us that form the United Kingdom."

Picture: a photograph of the construction site at West Northants, showing the first arch of the Greatworth green tunnel. Image Credit: HS2

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 04 October 2023


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