Sara’s Blog: HS2 opportunities for Staffordshire businesses and reaction to latest labour market statistics

Earlier this week, members of the HS2 Community Engagement Team gave a presentation to the Chambers’ Council about engaging with local businesses to support the development of HS2.

Work is already well underway on phase 1 from London to Lichfield, and Staffordshire based businesses can benefit from a good proportion of around 400,000 supply chain opportunities.

Over 80 Staffordshire businesses, including several Chamber members, are already involved with HS2, which has a policy of ensuring that more than half of the suppliers are local to the route and over two thirds of all suppliers are SMEs.

Opportunities are available in the following sectors: accommodation; food and catering; creative; transport and logistics; employee services; site services and trade and construction.

There are various ways in which you can find out about opportunities including visiting the national public contracts website You can also register your business on the HS2 map at

There will also be seminars and other events run by HS2 in partnership with the Chambers and other organisations which we will publicise through our channels as they arise.

HS2 is one example of new job opportunities in new sectors offering hope for the future which leads into the Office for National Statistics (ONS) labour market statistics for March 2021, which were published on Tuesday.

There was a glimmer of hope as, despite unemployment rising slightly, the continued uptick in the payroll employment data indicates that the UK jobs market is becoming more resilient.

Ongoing wage support through the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme, greater clarity provided by the government’s roadmap and the adaptations made by some small firms to operate under lockdown restrictions, all helped to support higher payroll employment in February.

Whilst it is likely that extending furlough will limit job losses, the damage done by cash flow problems is still inflicting a heavy toll on business and this is likely to keep unemployment levels rising well beyond the full reopening of the economy.

The extension to the job support schemes will protect millions of jobs and livelihoods, but we will continue to lobby through the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) to make sure that those businesses and individuals who remain excluded from government support get the assistance they need to navigate a difficult period.

And looking longer term, we will continue to hold the Government to account on there promise of delivering on new jobs in sectors as outlined in their 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.

If you want to talk to us about any business issues, you can call our switchboard on 01782 202222 or call the Stoke and Staffs Growth Hub Helpline on 0300 111 8002 or email:

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