Northumberland councillor calls for Government not to ignore the 'real north' amid HS2 speculation
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Georgina Hill, an Independent who represents the Berwick East, ward has urged the Government to include the region in any transport investment that may be announced alongside an update on the high-speed project – with reports that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will state later today (Wednesday) that the section from Birmingham to Manchester will be scrapped.
She set-up a petition a few years ago called ‘Don’t forget the Real North’, with a map with a line drawn at Middlesbrough indicating where she believes the ‘real north’ starts.
Speaking at a recent rail rally in Berwick, attended by Mick Lynch, she made reference to the Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, the proclaimed ‘King of the North’ and said that he was actually ‘King of the North Midlands’.
In relation to HS2, Coun Hill said this morning: “The ‘Real North’ petition and chat is meant to be light-hearted, but there is a serious point.
“The Manchester to Birmingham leg is likely to be scrapped – which is described as the ‘northern leg’, when that area is not actually very far north at all.
“So, while the upper midland area of the country is being let down, the real north is completely and utterly forgotten.
“The priority for rail investment should be later trains and improving connectivity, especially in the north and rural areas – not shaving a few minutes off journey times in the south.”
This comes following the recent Government announcement that the decision about dualling the A1 in parts of Northumberland is being postponed again until June.
At the time, Coun Hill accused the Government of cynically timing the announcement and likely bad news to come after the next General Election.
She said; “The original plan was for partial dualling, not coming up anywhere near the border with Scotland, but it looks increasingly likely that the existing plan will not happen which, of course, is another kick in the teeth for the north.
“It is very clear that the PM, Rishi Sunak, has forgotten about the north, given up on the north electorally and is focusing his attentions on London and the south east.”