Transport committee chair Louise Ellman outlines the findings of her committee's report on high speed rail:
"A high speed rail network, beginning with a line between London and the West Midlands, would provide a step change in the capacity, quality, reliability and frequency of rail services between our major cities.
"A high speed line offers potential economic and strategic benefits which a conventional line does not, including a dramatic improvement in connectivity between our major cities, Heathrow and other airports, and the rest of Europe.
"High speed rail may be a catalyst for economic growth, helping to rebalance the economy and bridge the north-south divide. But the government must do more to promote local and regional growth strategies to ensure we get maximum economic benefit from high speed rail.
"High speed rail is affordable: HS2 will cost around £2 billion per annum over 17 years. Construction of a high speed rail network should start with the line between London and the West Midlands, as this is where capacity needs are greatest. But we are concerned that under current plans high speed rail lines won’t reach Manchester and Leeds for more than 20 years."