BARNSLEY leaders have hit out at the government’s decision to axe the north-eastern leg of a new high-speed railway - with one defining the U-turn as a ‘package of broken promises’.

HS2 - which was set to connect Leeds to the West Midlands with a track skirting through Brierley - will be scrapped according to a government announcement last week, which gave a ‘scaled-back’ plan compared to what was originally promised.

South Yorkshire Mayor and Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis said the announcement is ‘bad news for the north’ and has called the government out on ‘failing to live up to their promises’.

“This should have been a landmark moment for the north,” he said.

“Instead, what we heard from the government was a package of broken promises, re-announcements and spin.

“The Prime Minister is fooling no-one if he thinks people in Barnsley and the north will believe this is a good deal.”

Sir Steve Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council, expressed similar concerns about what the cancellation means for the region.

Steve - who welcomed the HS2 plans for the region in 2016 and said the new line would be a ‘great opportunity for Barnsley’ - said he is disappointed with the cancellation, which he believed would have boosted the local economy.

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“I’m disappointed the government has dismissed the plan for the HS2 eastern leg between the Midlands and Leeds,” he said.

“It goes against the government’s ‘levelling-up’ agenda, and Yorkshire and the north-east will continue to be significantly disadvantaged economically because of this decision.”