The news that the government plans to review the delivery of HS2 Phase 2a with the decision on “whether and how we proceed” with delivery, comes at a potentially high cost to Staffordshire businesses.
For far too long businesses across the UK have had to cope with heavily congested Victorian-era railways – with passengers and freight traffic vying for priority. Businesses count the cost of this in delayed journeys, overcrowded trains, uncertain deliveries and unreliable services.
Cancelling HS2 now would cost thousands of jobs, directly impact the supply chain and cause the rescinding of existing contracts. HS2 remains a divisive subject across many communities in Staffordshire, however the business community has been vociferous in its calls for greater connectivity, increased capacity for freight, fairer rail fares and improved services from our rail infrastructure for a number of years, HS2 is set to redress those business-critical connectivity issues.
Commenting on the government’s announcement of an independent review of HS2 by Douglas Oakerveee, Sara Williams, Chief Executive of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, said:
“We know that as a country, Britain has been divided for a number of years, whether that is over Brexit or HS2 and while the economic headlines and soundbites present a buoyant economy, we know that the reality is that they mask the large scale inequalities in wealth, salary and opportunities across our cities and regions.
“HS2 is designed to redress some of those inequalities, bringing with it, greater connectivity, increased capacity and increased reliability. HS2 will connect employees to employers, businesses to new markets and commuters to new employment land, presenting places such as Stoke-on-Trent as a place to do business outside of the South-east. Through increased passenger capacity, HS2 also has the ability to unlock increased freight capacity on the West Coast Main Line, removing the need for goods to be transported via road and ease congestion.
“Staffordshire Chambers will continue to lobby for the delivery of a full HS2 service to Stoke-on-Trent and beyond. We firmly believe that all businesses in Staffordshire should benefit from HS2 not just those in close proximity to a station. Phase 2a must not be cancelled and government must go full steam ahead in connecting the core cities.”
Notes to editors:
The Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce belongs to a powerful network of 53 Accredited Chambers of Commerce across the UK, representing thousands of businesses of all sizes and within all sectors within Staffordshire. For more information, contact Matthew Lowe – Policy Manager – 01782 202 222