UK’s £106 billion HS2 project set to be Greenlit
Liverpool City Region business leaders welcome expected Government announcement on Tuesday giving the go ahead to the HS2 high-speed rail scheme linking London, Birmingham and the north.
Despite the project cost of the high-speed rail project linking London with Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds soaring from £56bn to £106bn, the Government sees it as part of its commitment to rebalance the economy.
The report also says the Prime Minister will announce a number of other rail scheme centred around the north and the Midlands. It adds that as work is ongoing on the first phase the Government will seek a review of the second phase covering the north.
It is expected work will begin soon on the first phase which will see a line built between London and Birmingham with an extension to Crewe. A V-shaped connection to Manchester and Leeds is planned for the second stage.
The news will be welcomed by business and political leaders in the Liverpool city region. While much of the coverage has focused on the shorter journey times the real value is seen as being in the overall increased capacity on the rail network. Extra rail capacity is seen as key to maximising the potential of the £750m expansion of the Port of Liverpool.
Reacting to the Government’s announcement that it will deliver HS2 in full, Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:
“The Prime Minister’s commitment to deliver HS2 in full today is welcome, but falls short of the full and unequivocal commitment to both HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail that the north needs. I will continue to push – alongside my fellow Northern leaders – for delivery of the new west-east rail line, fully integrated with HS2, that our city region needs.
“Improving rail connectivity is vitally important but, for the vast majority of people, transport is not about big national schemes, they want a local transport system they can rely on every day. That’s why later this month I will be announcing my plans to improve our local bus services, as part of my wider ambition to build a London-style transport system for our area. I’ve been calling for more funding for local transport, so it is promising to see the announcement of a £5bn fund that will invest in buses. I will be working hard to lobby the government to make sure that our region gets its fair share of that money.”
Frank McKenna, chief executive of Liverpool-based business lobby group Downtown in Business, told LBN (Liverpool Business News):
“The Government’s decision is absolutely right. Not only does this provide the country with the infrastructure improvements it so desperately needs and the connectivity across the north that is long overdue, but in the immediate term it provides a much needed boost in confidence and to our construction sector.
“Some people have been obsessed with the projects cost rather than its value. Thankfully the Government have recognised that our creaking railway network was in urgent need of an upgrade. The costs are never to go down- the need is never going away. I am delighted that the project has been given the green light.
“Along with Northern Powerhouse Rail, this investment provides short, medium and long term jobs and economic growth opportunities.”
Read further views on the HS2 news at LBN HERE.