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Bradford-Manchester Rail Journey Times

Volume 720: debated on Thursday 13 October 2022

9. Whether her Department is taking steps to help reduce rail journey times between Bradford and Manchester. (901613)

The Prime Minister has been clear that the Government will deliver Northern Powerhouse Rail in full and it will stop at Bradford. That is a pledge I am sure the hon. Gentleman will welcome.

I, too, welcome the Minister to his team, and I also welcome his comments. As he will know, Northern Powerhouse Rail will slash journey times from Bradford to Manchester dramatically, bringing much-needed and immense investment to Bradford. He is right to say that the Chancellor and Prime Minister have previously made this commitment, so will he add some further clarity to this excellent news for Bradford by setting out today a timetable of funding and construction, and when the Government will finally start work on this programme in full?

I am glad to hear that the hon. Gentleman shares my enthusiasm for that project, which, as he says, will make a massive difference for communities in Bradford. As he will appreciate, I am not going to lay out the detailed construction timetable here in the House, but we certainly intend to engage with leaders in the region and look forward to setting out further details in due course.

Northern Powerhouse Rail, and the billions of pounds in growth and tens of thousands of jobs, depend on HS2 being delivered in full. So will the Minister guarantee that the HS2 leg beyond Birmingham to Manchester will not be the victim of his Chancellor’s kamikaze Budget?

We have already got the Bill for the line through to Crewe through this Parliament. The next Bill, for phase 2b and the line up to Manchester, will soon be before its Select Committee. People can see our commitment to HS2: we are building it.