Instead of wasting money on the HS2 white elephant the government should be putting those billions into investment and infrastructure in the North East, said the region’s UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott.
“It has just been claimed that house prices in the area are to double over the next 15 years, which it is hoped will lead to a business boom.
“Local prices should rise substantially, particularly with the average for London tipped to reach £1m by the same time, but businesses and individuals alike are not going to flood to a region without first class transport links.
“It is all very well for the Conservative Party to grab headlines over the so-called Northern Powerhouse but it will be powerless without the road and rail links fit for the 21st century in place,” said Mr Arnott.
“The North East has a tradition of hard working people and they have been repeatedly let down by the government of whatever hue. This must change and instead of throwing money at the HS2 line between London, Birmingham and Manchester – which will just result in more jobs in the capital – they should be putting the rail network to the North East at the top of the agenda.
“There will doubtless be excuses of lack of funds but it never seems to be a problem for London, such as the Crossrail project. It has just been revealed by the TaxPayers Alliance that there are at least 32 people employed by HS2 Limited in unnecessary jobs, at a total cost of £1.5 million
“These include roles such as ‘organisation effectiveness business change advisor’, on £58,000, ‘head of equality, diversity and inclusion’ on £77,000 and ‘climate change advisor’ on £32,000.
“Never mind all these non-jobs, people up here need real jobs and government commitment and investment to make it happen,” he said.