12 February 2024

Sunak says scrapping northern leg of HS2 helps bus services, as he visits depot

12 February 2024

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said bus services are benefiting from the Government’s decision to scrap the northern leg of HS2, as he visited a depot in Harrogate.

Mr Sunak was speaking as he was shown around the latest electric buses on Monday morning, before speaking to apprentice bus drivers and engineers.

He said: “Every penny from HS2 in the North, almost £20 billion, is going to stay in the North.”

When he announced his decision in October last year to cancel plans to extend HS2 from the West Midlands, Mr Sunak said the Government would “reinvest every single penny, £36 billion, in hundreds of new transport projects”.

The Department for Transport’s Network North plan stated that this involved £19.8 billion for the North, £9.6 billion for the Midlands and £6.5 billion for the rest of England.

Mr Sunak went on: “We’re here at a bus depot, which is benefiting from the £2 bus fare that we were able to put in place as a result of the reprioritisation.

“Local road schemes across the North, railway stations being reopened – those are the types of the projects I think people want us to invest in alongside road maintenance, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Mr Sunak said the £2 bus fare cap was a direct result of his decision on HS2.

He said: “Talking to the team here, as a result of that policy, they’ve seen a 15% increase in bus numbers in this area – I’m here in Harrogate, in North Yorkshire.

“That demonstrates that policy is working and the plans we’ve put in place are the right ones.”

The £2 cap on many single bus fares in England was introduced in January 2023.

The cap was due to rise to £2.50 from November last year, but it was kept at £2 as part of Network North.

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