HS2 could make cities in the North and Midlands ‘global leaders’, according to key figures from politics, business and the trade union movement.

The Growth Taskforce – which counts Sir John Rose, ex-CEO of Rolls-Royce, Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC and former Trafford Council leader, Matt Colledge, among its members – delivered its recommendations to the Government on March 24, following a report published by HS2 boss, Sir David Higgins, last week.

The Taskforce report calls for action to simplify and ‘join up’ funding to deliver fast construction around HS2 stations sites.

The report also calls for development of brown field land on the route and calls for city regions to work together to integrate local transport networks.

Taskforce members agree that a ‘business as usual’ approach will not be enough, and calls for the same levels of ambition and collaboration that saw Britain deliver a ‘hugely successful’ Olympic Games.

Lord Deighton, Taskforce chairman, Commercial Secretary to the Treasury and the former chief executive of London 2012, said: “Like the Olympics, HS2 has the potential to be a great British success story, bringing jobs and growth to the whole country.”

Cllr Colledge said: “HS2 offers a once in a life time opportunity for our great cities to fully realise their enormous potential and in doing so, significantly drive the UK economy upwards.

“There is nothing else that possesses the ability to drive growth, create jobs and generate prosperity across the whole country.

“Our recommendations suggest that if handled properly, the benefits of HS2 will be felt by communities and businesses, many of which may never set foot on a high speed train, for decades to come.”