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

What we need is to get on with the job and start building HS2 so its benefits can be realised as soon as possible and we can relieve the pressure on our creaking Victorian-era rail network.

The terms of reference announced today are alarming, with one option being that we just build Phase 1. This would be an unmitigated disaster for several of our cities that are attracting investment on the back of the promise of a high speed rail link. It would also endanger one of HS2's key selling points, to better link up Northern and Midlands cities.

The evidence for HS2's economic and social benefits is irrefutable as far as we are concerned, it will help rebalance the UK, pump millions of pounds of investment into our local economies and is already supporting 9,000 jobs. It is the largest infrastructure project in Europe and should be seen as a statement of UK ambition that will pay for itself many times over in terms of increased productivity.

Core Cities UK will join others and submit evidence to the latest review, but the terms of reference are flawed and call into question the Government's commitment to creating a balanced, ambitious UK boasting the world class infrastructure our citizens deserve.