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East Midlands Chamber News

Regional leaders called on to make their support for HS2 heard

Businesses and leaders across the East Midlands, Yorkshire and North East were told today by Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani to “shout the benefits of HS2” as she reiterated the Government’s commitment to delivering 'high speed' services through the region.

At a Parliamentary event in Westminster, the Minister called on councillors, MPs and businesses to voice their support for the scheme to outweigh the negative voices and ensure that everyone understands the advantages it will bring to the nation.

Once built, HS2 will be a catalyst for regeneration in the East Midlands, with the East Midlands Growth Strategy suggesting it could add nearly £4bn to its economy and unlock the potential for around 74,000 jobs.

Both Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2 will transform the North, improving connections between major cities, boosting productivity and delivering better journeys for passengers.

HS2 Minister Nusrat Ghani said: “We need to shout the benefits of HS2. This is a railway that will have a profoundly positive impact on the cities and towns along the length of the Eastern Leg for generations to come.

“It is the defining infrastructure project of a generation – one that can transform and rebalance our entire economy and provide a major boost to places like Newcastle, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield.

“HS2 is happening and we will continue to work with regional partners to ensure we smash the north/south divide. Let no one doubt my Department’s full commitment to the entire project and its integration with Transport for the North’s plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail.”

HS2 is currently underway, with more than 7,000 people, 250 apprentices and 2,000 businesses working on its design and construction. The project is a key part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, which aims to deliver economic growth right across the country through investment in skills, industries and infrastructure.

The Eastern Leg of Phase 2b of the project will bring high speed rail services from Birmingham to Leeds, via the East Midlands and South Yorkshire, with trains running on to Newcastle and Edinburgh. Phase 1 will link Birmingham and London, while Phase 2a will connect Birmingham and Crewe and Phase 2b Western Leg connecting Crewe and Manchester.

Today, the Minister reiterated the Government’s commitment to building the whole HS2 network, dismissing recent speculative reports that the scheme could be scrapped beyond Phase 1.

It comes after Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said in January that a failure to deliver HS2 north of Birmingham would be “a betrayal to the North and Midlands”.

Once built, HS2 will become the first new railway built north of London since the Victorian era.