CBI regions urge government to push on with HS2

CBI
Matthew Fell

Today CBI Chairs in six English regions have all joined together to urge the government to back and build HS2. In a joint statement, they state that HS2 is vital to the UK’s future prosperity.

In the historic joint statement, they say:” Businesses need HS2 to be built in its entirety, linking the East and West of the country as well as bringing the North and Midlands closer together.”  The intervention comes ahead of the government review of HS2 expected later this week.

The CBI Regional Chairs from the East Midlands, West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, London, the North East, and North West have all signed up the statement on HS2.

The groups are urging the Prime Minister to offer their unwavering support to the project, explaining it is the only way to ensure the country benefits fully from a once-in-a-generation opportunity to drive regional economic growth and rebalance the economy.

Dealing with the current worrying news that HS2 could be scaled back or the Eastern Spur could be scrapped they say a scaled-back version of HS2 will not deliver the improved connectivity across the country that businesses are crying out for.

The CBI says HS2 will create half a million jobs, stimulate house-building along its route and support much-needed investment across the Midlands, North and beyond. It is the critical spine that will bring wider transport improvements like Northern Powerhouse Rail and the Midlands Rail Hub to life.

CBI Regional Councils are usually focused on their areas specifically and work on key economic issues facing a region, its business environment and the economy. So, today’s joint statement is a unique intervention and historic.

CBI Chief UK Policy Director Matthew Fell said: “The unequivocal message from CBI Regional Councils spanning all parts of the proposed route is back it, build it, benefit from it. HS2 is the key driver for the future economic growth of the Midlands and The North. As well as critical east-west links which have been often neglected. HS2 will help us change that and we cannot put this at risk

“Any watering down or cutting of this critical scheme will threaten the massive benefits of the scheme. It is time to be bold and deliver this scheme in full.”

CBI Regional Director Richard Blackmore said: “HS2 is more than just a railway line, it’s a key that unlocks future jobs, training and regeneration opportunities that will benefit us all. We have all come together to make a joint intervention in this debate, we believe that HS2 is crucial in supporting the UK government aim of rebalancing the UK economy and boosting productivity in the regions

“It is time for MPs and policymakers to lift their gaze, put the national interest first and back HS2.  We cannot have more dither or delay. Britain needs to be bold and I am urging them to back HS2.”