YOU don’t need me to tell you that there are big problems on our transport network.

From roads to rail, we are full to capacity across the board.

Everyone knows this – and yet no one, until now, has had the vision to find a solution.

Last week, the Prime Minister finally gave the green light to HS2 in the North.

I know that this decision has been controversial, but the problem with HS2 has always been about the branding.

Its point is not to speed up our train journeys as such, but to free up and create some much needed capacity on the railways.

At the moment, freight and commuter trains have to use the same railway line.

This is clogging up the network for everyone.

HS2 will put an end to this.

More importantly, it will also jump start a revolution in transport here in the north.

Northern Powerhouse Rail – the scheme to connect Liverpool to Hull, as well as the towns in between – is going to be a huge opportunity for us.

For the job creators and investors, it will connect them with a huge pool of talent right across the north, boosting job opportunities and investment here.

It will also mean that local people will be able to connect into opportunities right across the north.

London has a fantastic public transport network, which allows people to travel quickly and cheaply to different places, opening up job and investment opportunities in all corners of the city. Just imagine if we had this here – Northern Powerhouse Rail has the ability to do just that.

Yes, HS2 has its problems.

I know that locally there are big concerns with the proposed Golborne spur.

But I have been backing Leigh MP James Grundy’s call to scrap the spur and I believe we’re making good progress on this.

For many years Labour has done nothing for the local travel concerns of Leigh.

Only with a local Conservative voice will we truly be able to rebalance the focus on connectivity away from the London commuter bubble and boost positive investment across the whole region and country as a whole.

HS2 isn’t really about just HS2 – it’s about what it will lead to, namely Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Last week’s announcement has fired the starting gun for a revolution in transport right across the north.

Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party’s grand vision of levelling up our country starts here.

It is only with an improved rail, road and bus network that we can compete with London.

Let’s back the north and get on with it.