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East Midlands Chamber News

Chamber reacts to Government’s HS2 commitment

Reacting to the news that Government will accept the findings of the independent Oakervee Report and proceed with HS2 – albeit with a caveat – Scott Knowles, Chief Executive at the Chamber, said:

“HS2 will have a transformational effect on the East Midlands and the UK as a whole for generations to come and confirmation that the project will go ahead is welcome news.

“Our region, and the whole of UK plc, deserves rail infrastructure fit for the 21st Century if we are to remain competitive and aspire to an even brighter future – today’s announcement will go some way to addressing this.”

The Government’s decision to go ahead follows recommendations from the independent Oakervee Review. However, Ministers have asked that further work is undertaken on the scope of Phase 2b - which includes the Eastern Leg of HS2 through the East Midlands.

The Eastern Leg of HS2 will run from Birmingham to Leeds via the East Midlands Hub station at Toton, Chesterfield and Sheffield. The Eastern Leg and onward connections will serve a combined area of 15 million people which already contributes over £320bn a year to the UK economy.

From an East Midlands perspective, the East Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy published in 2017 sets out plans to use HS2 connectivity to deliver an additional 74,000 jobs and £4bn in GVA across the region.

Scott added: “The vast potential of HS2 will only be realised if implemented in its entirety. While it is of course essential to keep an eye on costs, failure to deliver the Eastern Leg would undermine the whole project and greatly limit its return on investment; putting businesses here in the region at a distinct disadvantage in the process.

“Businesses here in the East Midlands are ready to seize the opportunities and benefits that HS2 will bring. We call on Government to confirm, without delay, that the full vision of the project will be realised; including the Eastern Leg which will prove paramount to our region’s future success.”