Latest HS2 report welcomed by city leaders

Lord Deighton’s HS2 report published today has been welcomed by Leeds City Council leaders.

“High Speed 2: Get Ready” details how the country can prepare for the arrival of HS2 and thus reap the benefits it would bring.

It focuses on three main topics – how the country’s transport network, workers and businesses can make the most of opportunities brought forward by high-speed rail.

Leader of Leeds City Council, councillor Keith Wakefield, said:

“This report once again demonstrates the importance of getting HS2 right in the north. We are now seeing a positive response to many of the issues raised by northern cities. That progress is reflected in the recent commitment to start work years earlier on the new station in Leeds.

“Improving connectivity between northern cities would provide a massive boost to the national and regional economy, and encourage long-term sustainable growth. What is more an infrastructure project of this size has the potential to deliver thousands of new job and training opportunities – we want to ensure our region reaps the benefit of those opportunities.

“What we need to see now is a commitment to start building from the north and a guarantee that the final route will be right for this region and protect existing communities.”

The report recommends the Government should state by the end of the year how HS2 will affect rail services for the whole country not just those with stations on the line.

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council, said:

“Leeds is capable of enormous economic growth – we have invested £2.5billion in major development projects in the last 10 years and we are committed to delivering an iconic new station on the city’s waterfront. It will be an exciting focus for our aspirant plans in the south bank area, forming one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe.

“HS2 is not just about getting from London to Leeds faster. It could bring a whole generation well-paid careers as well as a legacy of other economic benefits. It is fantastic to hear that development of a skills and construction college should be a priority by the end of the year, which we would of course like to see come to Leeds.

“High speed rail should set a new benchmark in engineering careers demanding the highest standards of skills development and apprenticeships. We will do everything we can to link the new work force to HS2 jobs."

With regard to businesses the report says there are huge opportunities for both large and small companies to win contracts with HS2. Councils are being asked to establish centres of excellence to help businesses prepare for the arrival of HS2.

The HS2 Growth Taskforce, responsible for the report, was established in 2013 to provide recommendations on how to maximise economic growth and job opportunities from the Government’s plans to build a high-speed rail network.

For more information please contact Leeds City Council press office 0113 2450244.