HS2 should makes towns and cities ‘magnets for growth’, says Government
TRANSPORT secretary Patrick McLoughlin has challenged towns and cities to seize the full transformational potential of the HS2 high-speed rail project, and has promised strong government support to help them do this.
He made the commitment as part of the Government’s response to the independent HS2 Growth Taskforce’s report.
McLoughlin said that authorities and local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) are key to unlocking the regeneration opportunities HS2 offers.
He pledged that the Government and HS2 Ltd – the body which will deliver the £50bn project – would continue to work with them to help ensure local businesses and communities reap the full benefits of the new north-south railway.
Work is due to start on phase one of HS2 – the link between London and Birmingham in 2017. It is expected to be operational in 2026 with the phase two work connecting Leeds and Manchester due to complete six years later.
The taskforce’s report recommended that places with HS2 stations should develop detailed strategies to make sure they can seize the economic opportunities that HS2 is expected to bring. The Government said it will work with all HS2 places to develop growth strategies and local delivery bodies.
HS2 Ltd and London Continental Railways are developing proposals for a central regeneration company which will support this work, and will now develop a full business case which will be considered by Government in the autumn.
McLoughlin said: “HS2 is a vital part of our long-term economic plan – it will help generate tens of thousands of jobs, rebalance the economy and secure the country’s future prosperity. As the Growth Taskforce report made clear, HS2 can have a transformational impact on the UK. Local authorities need to rise to this challenge.”
Chair of the HS2 Growth Taskforce, Lord Deighton said: “The HS2 Growth Taskforce report made clear that we must not take a ‘build it and they will come’ attitude to Hs2, if we are to make the most of this once in a generation opportunity. It is up to all of us in government, local authorities, HS2 Ltd and UK businesses to unlock its full potential for economic growth.”
The taskforce published its recommendations in March.