Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has called for Sheffield to form part of a ‘Northern golden triangle’ with Manchester and Leeds to help drive economic growth.
He made the call in response to Chancellor George Osborne floating the idea of a third high-speed rail line between Manchester and Leeds in addition to the current proposals for HS2.
The chancellor said the idea was part of his vision for creating an economic ‘powerhouse’ in the north of England, with northern cities also potentially being offered ‘serious devolution of powers and budgets’ in return for adopting elected mayors with powers similar to those enjoyed by Boris Johnson in London.
But a spokesman for Mr Clegg said the South Yorkshire MP believes Sheffield has a key part to play in driving northern England’s economic future.
He said: “The economic regeneration of the North is not going to be solved by improving transport links alone.
“Nick Clegg has long believed that three cities – Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield – should become a ‘Northern golden triangle’ to drive economic growth in the North.
“The Liberal Democrats will be setting out comprehensive plans soon to enhance the transport links, labour market and business environment across the North of England.”
Mr Osborne said an upgraded, high-speed link between Manchester and Leeds should be considered as part of the review of the second phase of the HS2 project linking London to the Midlands and the North.
“We need an ambitious plan to make the cities and towns here in this northern belt radically more connected from east to west - to create the equivalent of travelling around a single global city,” he said.