Leaders rally round HS2 report

POLITICIANS and business leaders are rallying behind a report predicting that investment in high-speed rail will help create 400,000 jobs in major regional cities.

The study: ‘Understanding the transport infrastructure requirements to deliver growth in England’s Core Cities’ says the investment is key to future economic growth.

The author of the report, Volterra, defines the core cities are the economically most important English cities: Liverpool, Manchester  Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.

Economic agency Volterra said the investment in state-of-the art raid will also encourage GDP growth in the Core Cities by up to 3% and boost local wage increases by between 1.06% and 2.7%.

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: It’s a bold plan, underpinned by a bolder vision, and we urge the government to have the confidence and courage to make HSR a reality.”

Graham Evans, North West Conservative MP for Weaver Vale in Cheshire, pressed Prime Minister David Cameron:  “The Prime Minister needs to make sure he delivers what he promised. It’s very simple: if Conservative opposition ends up cancelling HS2, then cities outside of London will not be able to create the jobs they need.”

MIke Oglesby, chairman of Manchester-based commercial property company Bruntwood and Greater Manchester’s inward investment agency MIDAS believes investment in high-speed rail ‘could be the biggest boost to regional economies since the steam engine’.

He said: “We believe that GDP growth in the core cities could out-strip the national economy, reaching 3% per annum thanks to investments like high-speed rail. Without such investment, economic growth in Manchester could be placed in jeopardy.”

David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce added: “
“A fully functioning high speed rail network will provide the extra capacity this country desperately needs, and will help boost connectivity across the UK and with the continent.

“Furthermore, government research shows that it could potentially generate benefits of £44bn to the UK economy. We must continue to invest in Britain’s transport infrastructure as this will underpin economic growth, help drive the recovery and create jobs.”