Candidate calls for HS2 to be scrapped

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Pendle’s recently chosen prospective Labour party candidate at the next General Election, Azhar Ali, has joined the calls for the scrapping of the proposed high speed link between London and Manchester.

And he said some of the money should instead be spent on restoring the rail link between Colne and Skipton and building the A56 villages bypass.

Speaking as Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls told last week’s party conference a future Labour government might not go ahead with the £50 billion project, Mr Ali said: “Ed Balls is absolutely right to question the spiralling costs for HS2.

“I have always questioned the benefits of HS2 and how beneficial it would be for the people of Lancashire particularly in the east of the county in places like Pendle.

“In times of austerity when we are finding that this Tory-led government is slashing money for vital services like our hospitals and roads, we do not need to spend money on an ego-fuelled train line which could take jobs away from East Lancashire to the Midlands and London.

“I would rather the government scrapped this project and spend the money on connecting Colne to Skipton with an electrified track and provided funds for the A56 villages by-pass that would help East Lancashire in creating jobs and connecting Rossendale to Greater Manchester.

“We need better connectivity in East Lancashire if we are to keep skilled jobs in the area and if we want to provide good career prospects for our young people and graduates”.