I recently pressed the deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg about why Liverpool is not represented on his Northern Futures initiative which is supposed to bring together ideas to ‘create a vibrant Northern hub so it can compete with the biggest cities around the world.’
His offer of a government email address as an alternative to the real representation and involvement this city needs underlined for me why it is so important that Liverpool’s voice is heard directly in the coming months and years as the debate about how to bring jobs and economic success to the North heats up.
I support a direct high speed rail link to Liverpool because of the important economic benefits it will bring to the city and the inter-connectedness that it will bring to the Northern economy as a whole.
I share Mayor Joe Anderson’s view that the extra freight capacity is needed to make the most of the port developments that are coming in the years ahead.
Joe rightly points out that almost half of the world’s trade moved through the Port of Liverpool in the 19th century but that getting freight to and from the Liverpool City Region is just as important.
The Liverpool 2 container berth that is due to open late next year will be able to handle 90 per cent of the world’s container ships and opens the possibility of Liverpool being at the centre of a new era of sea trade. But without a HS2 link, the opportunity will be limited.
Five great cities – Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle – have come together to make the most powerful case yet for 21st century connections that allow people to do business together more easily.
We need connectivity – both East-West and through HS2. Investment in a trans-Pennine connection will lead to renewed confidence and growth across the North of England. Liverpool is the only major city in the North and Midlands not directly connected to HS2 and with talk now starting about a HS3 linking Manchester and Leeds, it is vital that Liverpool’s voice is heard.