The boss of HS2 has urged policymakers “not to lose sight” of the benefits the project will bring to the UK economy.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, Mark Thurston said the business case for the high-speed rail network was “clear”.

He added that “the real prize for the country is to complete the second phase”, linking Birmingham with Manchester and Leeds.

Last week, a House of Lords committee called for a rethink of HS2, arguing that it did not offer value for money.

It also said the project, which has a budget of £56bn, risked “short-changing” the north of England – a verdict that the government said it “fundamentally disagreed” with.

Organisers say HS2 will deliver a £92bn boost to the UK economy, and that for every £1 spent,

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