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IT is being heralded as the greatest thing since sliced bread.

And the Coalition government's plans for a high-speed rail link (HS2) may well challenge Mother's Pride and Co. for that title, though not before 2033.

Meanwhile, Westminster spin-doctors have been quick to point out that although the new lines will hit the buffers at Manchester and Leeds, Glasgow will still benefit from 30-minutes shorter journey times to London.

But, today, business leaders in the city are questioning whether that small gain is enough to offset the competitive advantage they believe the development will give to cities in the north of England.

On this issue the city council and the Scottish Government agree – future plans must see the lines extended north of the Border.