In a speech in Manchester, the new Prime Minister will confirm his approval for the plan to build a trans-Pennine route between the city and Leeds. He will also stress that spreading economic opportunity around the country far beyond London and the South East will be a key priority for his premiership. Mr Johnson will also use his first regional speech since taking over in Downing Street to emphasise his commitment to investment in education, tackling crime, boosting connectivity, and improving technology across the country.
Pledging a series of new inter-city rail routes, the Prime Minister is expected to say: “I want to be the prime minister who does with Northern Powerhouse Rail what we did with Crossrail in London.
“And today I am going to deliver on my commitment to that vision with a pledge to fund the Leeds to Manchester route.
“It will be up to local people and us to come to an agreement on the exact proposal they want – but I have tasked officials to accelerate their work on these plans so that we are ready to do a deal in the autumn.”
Detailed plans for the trans-Pennine rail route will be published in the autumn following a review of the proposed controversial HS2 high-speed link between London and the North.
Mr Johnson will say that upgrading regional routes in the North of England will help his vision of rebalancing power, growth and productivity across the UK.
The new route is expected to cut journey times significantly and provide additional capacity for people across the region.
Mr Johnson will also pledge to “improve the unglamorous local services which people use every day,” such as buses, saying it is about “services within cities, not just services between cities.”
He is expected to say: “I want to help local leaders bring their local services in all our towns and cities up to the standards of the best.
“And I want that to start now, with improvements that can happen in the short term, not just big engineering schemes that will take years.”
Mr Johnson confirmed his review of the HS2 project when questioned by MPs in the Commons on Thursday.
Asked about extending high-speed rail in the North of England, he said: “I have asked Doug Oakervee, the former chairman of Crossrail, to conduct a brief six-week study of profiling of the spend on HS2, to discover whether such a proposal might have merit.”