Minister defends rail scheme over effects on cities

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Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has defended plans for a new high-speed rail link between London, Birmingham and Sheffield – amid claims it could cost some other cities hundreds of millions of pounds.

The Derbyshire Dales MP insisted he had ‘no doubt’ the HS2 scheme would benefit the UK as a whole, describing it as ‘controversial, but vital’ for the long-term health of the economy.

The comments came after previously unreleased research listed more than 50 areas likely to end up worse off as a result of the project – including Bristol, Cambridge and Aberdeen.

Mr McLoughlin said: “All these investments we are looking at are to serve the people of the UK, to make the UK a place where we attract investment.

“It’s of no doubt to me that it’s beneficial to the UK. We need to make sure our cities in the north are able to compete with the rest of Europe as well.

“HS2 is vitally important overall for the long-term future of the economy,”