Minister gives West Midlands-to-Leeds high-speed rail plan red light

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The Secretary of State for Transport, Philip Hammond, has ordered plans for a future high-speed rail route between the West Midlands and Leeds “to be put on hold”.The minister said, in a letter to Sir Brian Briscoe, chairman of the development company High Speed Two, that the plans “should be put on hold until the Government has taken a decision on the scope and shape of the network”.However, the minister said plans for a route between the West Midlands and Manchester should continue and that the company should look into route options for a direct high-speed line between Birmingham and Heathrow airport by the end of August. The government, meanwhile, has decided to abolish the Regional Development Agencies (RDA), such as Yorkshire Forward, and the Commission for Rural Communities. The deputy PM Nick Clegg has announced that the London Development Agency, along with eight RDAs, which cost more than £1.5bn annually, will be replaced by ‘local enterprise partnerships’, made of councilors and local business schemes. These partnerships will take over the RDAs role of promoting local economic development and attracting investment and jobs.
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