Core City UK Leaders and Mayors gathered at Curzon Street to reaffirm their support for HS2 and to say it must be delivered in full.
Cllr Judith Blake, Chair of Core Cities UK and Leader of Leeds City Council, said:
Core Cities UK leaders and mayors are fully in support of HS2. We believe it is a vital tool that will help us rebalance our nation and relieve the pressure on our creaking Victorian rail network.
We see HS2 as a first step towards High Speed rail for the whole of the UK and it is a sign of our commitment that cities not directly connected to HS2 under its current route plan are fully in support of the project.
HS2 is more than just a railway line, it will unlock future jobs, training and regeneration opportunities that will benefit many of our 20 million citizens. Its construction is key to the success of future infrastructure projects like Northern Powerhouse Rail and Midlands Rail Hub that will boost productivity and help us decentralise the UK.
HS2 is already a reality, here in Birmingham work has already begun and 7,000 jobs have been created, but it is Phase Two - which will eventually connect the great cities of Nottingham, Sheffield, Manchester and Leeds - where many of the benefits will be felt most.
Core Cities UK believes HS2 is a game-changer for the Midlands and the North. Phase Two is also vital to making sure other proposed rail projects like Northern Powerhouse Rail and the Midlands Rail Hub become a reality. It should not be a choice of either/or. We must invest in HS2 as well as enhancing our regional links, one will benefit the other.
HS2 will transform journey times and massively increase rail capacity, freeing up space on the existing network for more seats and also for freight, taking lorries off the roads, and helping the UK meet its air quality challenge.