Responding to today’s Integrated Rail Plan announcement, Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce representatives said:

Managing director, Martin Hathaway:

“Today’s announcements from the transport secretary mentioned levelling up multiple times, however this is not how it feels for our regions businesses who see this as a significant downgrading of previously announced transport schemes.

“Our members have told us that transport is already a major issue when it comes to moving people and goods across the north, with current transportation systems often underperforming and being under-resourced.

“Cancelling the HS2 eastern leg and downgrading the Northern Powerhouse Rail plans so that they do not include a full upgrade of the Transpennine route will severely damage the opportunities for the growth and development of northern businesses, as well as significantly reduce the opportunities available for our communities.

“Today’s cancellations means that these struggles will remain and provide yet another example of why we here in Yorkshire need more control over our own destiny.

“We will continue to work with other business leaders in the north to persuade Government to devolve transport, skills and community infrastructure funds and powers to local leaders.”

Policy committee chair and commercial lawyer, Hugh Goulbourne:

“After so many months of dithering and delay, today’s cuts to vital Transpennine transport investments and the HS2 Leeds route do very little to inspire business confidence.

“Our brilliant businesses here in Halifax, Huddersfield, Wakefield and surrounding areas are bouncing back well from the pandemic and they deserve so much more.

“We are home to some of the best British manufacturers, an outstanding university and a professional services supply chain that supports two thriving economic powerhouses in Leeds and Manchester.

“We deserve a 21st century Transpennine passenger route and a new freight line to reduce congestion and carbon emissions on the M62. I look forward to continuing dialogue and negotiation with the Government to deliver on promises made to the North.”