Will HS2 'heal north/south divide'?

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Details of the next phase of the £32bn HS2 high-speed rail network have been unveiled by the government.

The preferred route of phase two, running northwards from Birmingham will have five stops at: Manchester; Manchester Airport; Toton in the East Midlands; Sheffield; and Leeds.

Chancellor George Osborne said it was "the engine for growth in the North and the Midlands of this country".

Phase one's London-Birmingham link has faced considerable opposition.

Professor John Tomaney, from the School of Planning at UCL, told the Today programme's Evan Davis that "There's very little evidence that building a high-speed rail line heals the north/south divide".

Sir Richard Leese, chair of Manchester City Council, argued that HS2 "doesn't guarantee growth but it gives us a better chance."

This item was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Monday 28 January 2013.

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