PRESS RELEASE ISSUED ON BEHALF OF HS2 EAST
- Minister Nusrat Ghani states; “no-one should doubt my department’s commitment to this project”
- During National Apprenticeships Week, HS2 chair Allan Cook reinforces positive impact of apprenticeship opportunities
- 250 apprentices are already working on HS2, with 2,000 apprenticeships to be created over the project’s lifetime
- East Midlands Councils’ Andrew Pritchard outlines the route’s scope to link world-leading advanced manufacturing clusters
Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani has reinforced Government’s commitment to delivering HS2 in its entirety. Speaking at an event in Westminster hosted by Turner Townsend on behalf of HS2 East, a partnership representing towns and cities along the eastern leg of the Phase 2b route, Ms Ghani stated that “no-one should doubt my department’s commitment to this project.”
Highlighting the transformative power of this once-in-a-lifetime transport investment, she was also joined by HS2 chair Allan Cook and Lord Kerslake, former head of the Civil Service, as well as speakers from organisations across the Midlands and the North.
The eastern leg of HS2 is a high speed connection between Birmingham, Toton in the East Midlands, Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle, with strong support to extend the route on to Scotland. These collective destinations have a combined population of 15 million people and already contribute over £320billion a year to the UK economy.
Nusrat Ghani, Undersecretary of State for Transport, said:
“HS2 is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, one that can rebalance and boost the economy, not just in the next ten years, but for generations to come. The Eastern Leg will provide a major boost to places like Nottingham, Derby, Sheffield and Leeds, right the way to Scotland. Last week I was in the West Midlands and I can tell you, the benefits of Phase One are already being felt, 7,000 jobs have been created, 2,000 businesses have secured contract opportunities, and this is only the beginning.”
“You may have seen stories in the media recently that Phase Two of HS2 might not happen. Let me stress again, it is absolute nonsense to question this government’s commitment to Phase 2b. As the Secretary of State said recently, failing to complete the project would be a betrayal of the Midlands and the North.”
Allan Cook, chair of HS2 Ltd, said:
“HS2 is not just a transport project, it’s a UK-wide regeneration programme that will transform towns and cities across the Midlands and the North. We’re talking about decades worth of investment and benefits that will be felt for years to come. Stopping short is not an option – we must, and will, deliver HS2 in its entirety.”
“Both myself and HS2’s CEO Mark Thurston started our careers as apprentices, and it is our job to ensure these same opportunities are passed on to the young people of this country. As well as completing the project on time and on budget our legacy will be a mobilised, skilled workforce, empowered businesses and supercharged economic growth. Over 250 apprentices are already working on HS2 and over the project’s lifetime this figure will reach 2,000.”
Andrew Pritchard from HS2 East, East Midlands Councils and Midlands Connect said:
“The Eastern Leg of HS2 will create a new, ‘virtual conurbation’ combining the economic muscle of our towns and cities to allow businesses to compete on the world stage. The route is already home to a number of internationally-leading organisations such as JCB, Rolls Royce, Siemens and Bombardier. Linking our advanced manufacturing experts by high speed rail will foster increased productivity, innovation and economic growth.
“Rail patronage is at an all-time high; to meet demand and create capacity for future growth there is only one solution, HS2. By freeing up space on the rest of the network we can improve local rail services and increase the use of rail freight, shifting traffic from the roads to the railways. We mustn’t forget that over 60 per cent of Phase Two’s economic benefits come from the Eastern Leg, its delivery is not an added extra but essential.”
Lord Kerslake, former head of the Civil Service and chair of the UK2070 Commission said:
“The scale of economic inequalities we face in this country is staggering. Although London is the richest region in Northern Europe, the UK is also home to six of the ten poorest regions in this same geography. The truth is that these disparities are widening, and without HS2 our regions will not have the means to make the most of the economic opportunities available to them. We must ensure it goes ahead, and that we begin to address these issues head on.”
HS2 East is a partnership of councils, LEPs and Chambers of Commerce from the Midlands, Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland that have come together to promote the delivery and benefits of HS2 Eastern Leg.