What the plan to launch Network North means for you

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak explains his new approach to transport in our country

Two maps side by side of the UK, showing the previous HS2 route and the new Network North plans.

Today we are announcing some changes on our approach to HS2.

We will deliver HS2 between Birmingham and Euston as planned but we will extend it no further.

Instead we will take every pound that would have been spent extending HS2 and invest over £36 billion into Network North – a new programme of transport improvements that will benefit far more people, in far more places, far quicker.

Why we’re making the change

Costs for HS2 have more than doubled since forecast – phase one was originally meant to cost £20 billion but latest estimates are up to £45 billion.

And the project has been repeatedly delayed.

It was supposed to be operational by 2026 and opened in full by 2033, but now the the line to Manchester is forecast to be opened in 2041, in 18 years’ time.

And the pandemic has completely changed the way we travel. While road travel has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, train journeys are still down by 20 per cent.

This change will transform every region

Every region will have as much or more transport investment as a result of this decision.

More than four million people in cities in the North cannot currently reach their city centre by public transport within half an hour.

This is detrimental to our productivity and economic growth.

Yet the current HS2 project is preventing us from spending on the forms of transport that matter most to people.

By scrapping it, every penny from the Northern leg of HS2 will go to the North and every penny from the Midlands leg to the Midlands.

Rather than just connecting Birmingham and Manchester, we will invest £36 billion in hundreds of projects in towns, cities and rural areas across our whole country, and in roads, rail, and buses – investment on a truly unprecedented scale that will drive economic growth and provide jobs.

£19.8 billion for the North

We will invest £19.8 billion in the North on things like connecting its major cities, a new station in Bradford, a new tram for Leeds, new major roads, reopened train lines and an additional £12 billion for better connectivity between Manchester and Liverpool.

£9.6 billion for the Midlands

There will be a further £9.6 billion for the Midlands, invested in a new Midlands Rail Hub that will connect 50 stations, major road upgrades, and reopened train lines with new stations. 

£6.5 billion for the rest of the country

We’ll also invest £6.5 billion across the rest of the country, on schemes like keeping the £2 bus fare until the end of December 2024. Boosting road schemes, upgrading Ely Junction, major rail improvements across the South West and billions to fix potholes in our roads.

Greater connectivity for both Scotland and Wales

Further funding will be made available to improve connectivity between towns and cities across Scotland and Wales, making it easier for people to access the jobs and services they need quickly, via public transport.

Delivering a better future

If we want to change the country – and build a better future for our children – these changes to our transport system are absolutely essential.

For too long we’ve been getting our transport wrong, meaning our great towns, cities and rural areas are not achieving their potential. That has to change.

Our new vision will focus on the forms of transport that matter most to people, drive the best growth and, importantly, that truly levels up our country. 

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street
The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP