Business leaders last night slammed the Government after it emerged that work on the eastern leg of the HS2 rail scheme has been shelved.
Ministers are understood to have quietly ordered HS2 Limited to halt planning work on the route, to Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds, over fears about soaring costs.
Instead, construction will focus solely on the western leg, to Manchester.
But bosses in the East Midlands and the North told The Mail on Sunday that abandoning the eastern route threatened to undermine Boris Johnson's Election pledge to 'level up' the entire economy.
The Prime Minister was also warned voters in 'Red Wall' constituencies would be furious.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
The Prime Minister was warned voters in 'Red Wall' constituencies would be furious at the idea of the Leeds leg being shelved (Pictured: PM Boris Johnson on site of a part of HS2)
Mark Reynolds, chief executive of giant construction firm Mace, said: 'By failing to deliver the entirety of the HS2 route, we risk losing out on improvements to the vital links between our regions and thousands of jobs and growth in the areas that need it most.'
Mark Goldstone, of the West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: 'It's time for the Prime Minister to be honest with communities and businesses across the North about what his intentions for levelling up actually mean.
'HS2 is a key component of wider infrastructure plans.'
The HS2 eastern leg was set to link the first phase of the project – a rapid rail line from London to Birmingham – with Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds.
Initially, phase two was set to extend the line from Birmingham to Manchester via Crewe – the so-called western leg.
Florence - the largest ever tunnel boring machine used on a UK rail project - was unveiled in May this year