Region’s leaders demand Sunak delivers HS2 in full

West Midlands business leaders have written to Rishi Sunak, urging him to commit to the full delivery of HS2.

The letter, penned by Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and signed by a host of high-profile leaders, comes after it emerged over the weekend that Sunak was planning to scrap the section of line between Birmingham and Manchester and curtail the southern section at Old Oak Common in an effort to save money.

Signatories say that cutting plans would be “an appalling dereliction of responsibility” and would prevent further growth for the Midlands and North as well as holding back levelling up efforts. 

HS2 has already seen 8,000 people and 400 businesses working on the project in the West Midlands. 

Tom Wagner, the new owner of Birmingham City FC, also wrote an open letter to Sunak on Monday (September 25), saying that one of the reasons his company invested in the club was because of HS2.

CEO of the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Henrietta Brealey said: “We are absolutely astounded that there has been serious consideration of reducing HS2 to Old Oak Common to Curzon Street.

“This stunted vision would deliver all of the pain for almost none of the gain for those on the Phase One route, the business case on capacity, connectivity and resilience requires the full network.

“It would be a colossal waste of money, undermine investor confidence and tear up transport and regeneration plans that have been years in the making and in many cases, are mid-delivery.

“Businesses and investors make decisions for the long term and rely on being able to trust Governments to deliver on their commitments to plan effectively.

“It is critical that the Government hears and responds to the business voice on HS2 and delivers the remaining HS2 network in full – from Euston to Manchester and Leeds. We thank our partners and members for joining us in this urgent call to action and the many others who have issued their own”.

Business leaders who have signed the letter include:

  • Henrietta Brealey, CEO, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce
  • Richard Faulkner, director, Alexander Accountancy
  • Nick Barton, CEO, Birmingham Airport
  • John Webber, director and head of rating, Colliers International
  • Nicola Fleet-Milne, chair, Colmore Business District
  • Andy Dawson, co-founder and director, Curium Solutions
  • Shaun Gray, European managing director, Ginho
  • Ellie Beattie, group sales and marketing manager, Hogarths Hotels & Restaurants
  • Peter Edwards, CRM executive, Kammac
  • Dr Jason Wouhra OBE, CEO, Lioncroft Wholesale Ltd
  • Steve Whitmarsh, managing director, Multifleet Vehicle Management Ltd
  • Melanie Smith, CEO, NEC Group
  • Paul Faulkner, chief of staff, Richardson
  • Rob Page, founder, Rob Page Consulting
  • Mike Lattimer, managing director, SF Recruitment
  • Omar Rashid, managing director, Solution HR T/A HR Dept Birmingham Central & Wolverhampton
  • Tony Elvin, general manager, Touchwood Solihull
  • Gurdas Singh, marketing consultant, Wanama

Tony Elvin, general manager at Touchwood shopping centre in Solihull, said: “To butcher plans for HS2, that would result in terminating the service at Old Oak Common and/or Birmingham at the other end would be an act of betrayal from this Government.

“In spite of the Government’s pledge to start levelling up the country, this move would starve the regional economy of billions of pounds of forecasted revenue.

“All of the money spent so far, the disruption and impact on the environment will have been for nothing. I cannot imagine a more embarrassing legacy for a Prime Minister.”