We are alarmed by the lack of guarantee from the Levelling Up Secretary that HS2 services will reach Euston. The suggestion that Old Oak Common might be a better bet for a London terminus is not helpful given this station would be stretched to handle half the number of trains HS2 has planned. This would result in a capacity-halved high-speed railway at best, undermining plans for better use of the West Coast Main Line and the communities it serves in the process.

We agree with the Levelling Up Secretary that as many people as possible should benefit not just from the additional rail infrastructure but also from the regeneration that HS2 can bring. HS2 is of course already bringing about those benefits, in particular to Birmingham, and the real challenge is being able to ensure the same benefits flow to the likes of Manchester and Liverpool without delay.

We welcome today’s report by the National Audit Office that recognises that the deferral of spending to manage inflationary pressures will lead to additional costs and potentially to higher project spend overall. Investment to upgrade our national infrastructure is imperative to achieve the economic growth needed for prosperity and opportunity. HS2 is the single largest infrastructure project in Europe and will bring the UK’s cities and regions closer together.