Sturgeon and Burnham secret talks to boost Scottish HS link

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham held secret talks in an attempt to force the UK Government into spending “at least” the £3 billion saved by axing HS2’s Golborne Link on an alternative connecting line to serve Scotland.

Recently released documents under a Freedom of Information Act request reveal a meeting between the pair on August 24 2022, with ‘HS2 and connectivity towards Scotland’ topping the agenda.

The 13-mile new-build ‘Golborne Link’ near Manchester, designed to connect HS2 with the existing West Coast Main Line, was axed by the Government last summer to save £3bn, amid concerns over rising project costs. Its deletion is seen as eradicating hopes that Scotland would benefit from HS2.

Burnham is also campaigning for a new underground Manchester station for HS2, to create a cross-city heavy-rail link, rather than the proposed upgrade to the existing Piccadilly terminus.

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