A NEW high-speed rail link between Manchester and Leeds could have knock-on benefits for Burnley and East Lancashire.

Chancellor George Osborne has unveiled proposals to potentially spend £7billion on improving transport links between the major northern cities.

And if the initiative eventually involves substantially upgrading the existing line, which runs through Todmorden and Walsden, the route would link up with the anticipated faster new East Lancashire to Manchester line.

Coun Margaret Lishman, Liberal Democrat group leader on Burnley Council, said: “Anything which speeds up and improves the rail network for Burnley people should be welcome. Not only would it bring opportunities for more people to travel for jobs but it would enable more to consider coming to Burnley to live, which would be great.”

The new service connecting Burnley Manchester Road station with Todmorden is scheduled to start this December.