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Cllr Judith Blake, Chair of Core Cities UK and Leader of Leeds City Council said:

Core Cities UK welcomes today’s announcement and is pleased Government has listened to the passionate arguments of our leaders and mayors on the importance of HS2.

What we need to do now is get on and build this vital piece of infrastructure and relieve the pressure on creaking transport networks across our city regions.

We also welcome Government plans to invest in other modes of transport alongside HS2 and we would urge it to follow the findings of its own Infrastructure Commission and devolve some infrastructure funding to cities and city regions.

HS2 is more than a railway, it has already unlocked training and job opportunities for thousands of our citizens and is a catalyst for millions of pounds of investment into our cities. It is already attracting blue chip companies into Birmingham and will make a major contribution to the largest regeneration project in Europe which will see the doubling in size of Leeds City Centre.

HS2 is itself the largest engineering project in Western Europe and should be seen as a statement of this country's bold post-Brexit ambition.

Future delay and uncertainty is not an option. We believe this project has already been too long in the planning and too short on execution. We must now get on and build this desperately needed piece of infrastructure that will help us level up and rebalance the UK.