Unite, the UK’s construction union, has described the government’s decision to cancel the HS2 spur to Leeds as an ‘act of industrial vandalism’.

Unite national officer for construction Jerry Swain said: “This decision has put back national infrastructure planning by a generation. It is nothing short of industrial vandalism.

 “By cancelling the HS2 spur to Leeds the government is demonstrating that it is simply not serious about its levelling up agenda and that its manifesto commitment to improving regional connectivity was nothing but hot air.

 “HS2 should be the gold standard of construction projects for the next decade and beyond. The entire UK should be benefiting from this development.

 “By cancelling the Leeds spur of HS2, the government is denying a huge chunk of the UK the positive benefits of high speed rail, while expecting them to pay for it.

“Despite the cancellation of the Leeds spur it remains essential that the surviving sections of the project become the benchmark that all other construction projects in the UK are set against, in terms of pay, safety, working practices and apprentices. A failure to do so would be a further own goal by the government.”

Unite will continue to engage in a meaningful way with all parties on the project where possible, in order to achieve well paid jobs in a safe working environment.

Unite is dedicated to advancing the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and will fight back against any efforts to diminish workers' living standards.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Unite secures breakthrough access to Europe's biggest construction site, HS2

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.