Boris warned levelling up will be 'nothing more than slogan' if NPR rail plans are ditched

On Tuesday, the Prime Minister, 57, stated there would be “quite a lot on Northern Powerhouse Rail” (NPR) at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester. However, while Mr Johnson is not expected to make a formal announcement the Prime Minister has been warned to stick to his 2019 pledge to build a new line between Leeds and Manchester via Bradford to avoid levelling up being “nothing more than a slogan”.

The comments come amid speculation which hints the Eastern leg of the HS2, from Birmingham to Leeds, may be delayed.

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership’s Henri Murison stressed the importance of Mr Johnson fulfilling his promise made in 2019.

“If, as expected, the Prime Minister’s speech focused on improving Northern connectivity, he would do well to remember that two years ago he stood in this city and promised a line across the Pennines from Leeds to Manchester,” he said.

“This could release the economic potential of our great Northern cities such as Bradford.

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CBI chief policy director Matthew Fell has stated the Government must “put an end to any lingering uncertainty by reaffirming its commitment to delivering HS2, on time and in full, as a foundation stone for an equitable and sustainable future UK economy.”

“HS2 is a project that levels up – a cornerstone of Government and business ambitions. It’s too important a project to downgrade to HS1.5,” he continued.

The cost of the Y-shaped HS2 network was estimated in 2018 by the Government-commissioned Oakervee Review to reach £106billlion.

Phase one of the construction includes railway running between London and Birmingham.

Phase two A involves construction between Birmingham and Crewe and phase 2b between Crewe and Manchester, and between Birmingham and Leeds.

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