Mayor fights for ’20 Miles More’

The Mayor of Liverpool is visiting the Labour Party conference in Manchester today (Monday, September 22) to argue the case for the city to be added to the High Speed rail network (HS2).

And next week Joe Anderson will take the fight for a better connected Liverpool direct to the politicians at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.

He said: “I will be lobbying both the Labour and Conservative Parties about why Liverpool must be added to the HS2 network

“I was one of the first to make the case for HS2 and before details of HS2 were even released I was calling for HS3 running West to East from Liverpool to Newcastle and Hull.

“It is not just about passenger numbers, it is about freight, capacity and growth for the future, the future for us as cities, the future for us as Northerners and the future for us as British citizens.”

HS2 is the UK’s biggest and most expensive ever infrastructure project and has been promoted as an essential piece of economic investment that will help to rebalance the UK’s economy and unlock the potential of Northern cities and regions.

But currently the plans only connect eight out of 10 of the largest British cities and they don’t yet include Liverpool.

At the fringe meeting at Manchester Town Hall, attended also by shadow infrastructure minister, Lord Adonis, Mayor Anderson will argue that HS2 will not deliver on its economic promise if Liverpool is not involved.

“As a Port City, Liverpool knows more than anyone else the importance of connectivity in all its forms – be it trains, roads or ferries across the Mersey.

“In the 19th Century half of the world’s freight came through Liverpool. Today, a £300m investment in Liverpool SUPERPORT is making our port ready to welcome the largest ships ever built by mankind – post-Panamax vessels.

“Connectivity is the back bone to any strong economy and when the world’s freight arrives on our doorstep we need to be able to move it efficiently and cost effectively across the country.

“Together with our growing city population and business confidence it is absolutely crucial that Liverpool has a full connection to HS2.  That’s also why I have backed the 20 Miles More campaign, led by business to bring HS2 to Liverpool.”

Referring to last week’s historic vote in Scotland, he added: “The referendum was a vote for change and proved emphatically that people want to live in a country that invests everywhere and not just in London.

“The £10-15bn of investment that is needed for HS2 may sound like a lot, but in comparison to Transport for London’s recent requests for £80bn up to 2050, it is only fair the nation invests in our future as well.

“We are ready to go, we are ready to provide, we are ready to thrive, but we simply can’t do it without the long term commitment of government to invest for a Northern future.”

The meeting on Monday at 5.30pm is part of ResPublica’s Labour Party Conference Fringe programme and will also feature speeches by Phillip Blond, director at ResPublica and Stephen Twigg MP, Shadow Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform.

Speakers will discuss whether HS2, as it is currently planned, can be effective in overcoming the gravitational pull of the capital and what will be the long term cost to the UK economy of not making the right connections to major cities like Liverpool at the earliest opportunity?