Britain has shelved the Manchester leg of the HS2 high-speed rail project, ITV News reported on Monday without citing sources, meaning the northern English city will no longer get a new connection to London.
Government ministers have in recent weeks said HS2 should be reviewed given spiralling costs, raising speculation that its northern section could be axed and prompting warnings from businesses over the need to invest in infrastructure.
Earlier on Monday, finance minister Jeremy Hunt said no formal decision had been made about the project. HS2, or High Speed 2, was originally expected to link London with cities including Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, but has already been scaled back.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak - whose Conservatives are trailing in opinion polls behind the Labour Party ahead of an election expected next year - has said he is making tough choices that strike the right balance between aspiration and cost.
Any scrapping of the link to Manchester would mean it would run between London and the central English city of Birmingham.
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, writing by Sarah Young; Editing by Sachin Ravikumar)