UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is scaling back a high-speed train line that was intended to open up the north of the country but whose cost had spiralled out of control.
"I am cancelling the rest of the HS2 project", declared the Conservative head of government during a speech at his party's conference in Manchester. "In its place, we will reinvest every penny, £36 billion (€41 billion), in hundreds of new transport projects," he promised.
"What we really need is better transport links in the north" and this "will be our priority", Sunak hammered home in a speech to the Conservative Party's annual conference.
In justifying his decision, the Prime Minister said that "HS2 is the ultimate example of the old consensus" and "the result is a project that has more than doubled in cost and suffered repeated delays".
In particular, the prime minister confirmed that he intended to boost a rail project already in the pipeline to improve connections between the main economic centres in the North, which will reduce journey times between Manchester, Bradford, Sheffield and Hull on electrified lines.
While London's U-turns are very unpopular with elected representatives from Northern England, who accuse the government of going back on its promises to economically more disadvantaged regions, the leader also enumerated a long list of projects to improve urban transport, buses and trams, as well as road connections.
HS2, the UK's second high-speed line after the Eurostar line to the Channel Tunnel, was originally intended to link the country's capital with Birmingham and then Manchester and Leeds. It will now stop after Birmingham.