The deposit of the Hybrid Bill for the Western Leg of HS2 is a key moment in the advancement of HS2, as plans are progressed to create a truly North-South railway with connections between Crewe and Manchester. High speed rail links, which will change the nation’s economic geography, are one of the very few tangible ways to spur levelling up outside of the South East – and the deposit of the Bill moves this agenda forward.

The Bill also includes a connection to the West Coast Main Line to serve stations en route to Scotland – and in line with the Government’s Union Connectivity Review, and our own ‘Modal shift matters’ report – priority should be given to speeding up these services to provide 3-hour London–Glasgow/Edinburgh journey times (rather than today’s 4h20), increasing rail’s share of the London– Scotland travel market from 29% to 75%.

We must now ensure that we build on the momentum of today’s milestone and deliver economic benefits and improved transport links to the North and Midlands as quickly as possible.