High speed train of the type proposed for the HS2 network
High speed train of the type proposed for the HS2 networkReuters

Five major cities in the north of England are set to unveil a joint £15bn strategy to improve road and rail connections in the region.

Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield have teamed up to release a report – One North – outlining plans to build a 125mph inner-city rail link and better access to airports and ports. The report will be presented to Chancellor George Osborne in Manchester later today.

Osborne recently said a connected North would be extremely beneficial to the economy, greater than the sum of its individually strong parts - "a northern global powerhouse".

He added that quick links between Manchester and Leeds could form a powerful institution. This could potentially cost £7bn ($11.8bn, €8.8bn), but the price could be reduced if existing rail lines were updated.

The One North plan is the latest development in a series of discussions aimed at levelling out the economic playing field between the North and the South of England.

The High Speed 2 (HS2) rail-line plans have been given the go-ahead to be built from London to Birmingham, despite costs of up to £20bn for this first phase alone making politicians and economists baulk.

The second phase of the line development linking Leeds and Manchester will be under consultation this year and is expected to be built by 2033.