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esigned to relieve pressure on overcrowded road and rail links and radically improve journey times between London, Birmingham and the cities of the north, HS2 is

estimated to be worth £15bn a year to the UK economy. Subject to Parliamentary approval, the fi rst stage, linking London with Birmingham will begin construction in 2017 and open for business in 2026. The second phase linking up to Manchester and Leeds is scheduled for 2033.

However, the new Chairman of HS2 ltd, Sir David Higgins, recently called on the Government to speed up construction, taking the fi rst phase to Crewe 2027, six years ahead of schedule, and completing the rest of the route by 2030. A fi nal decision will be made by the Secretary of State later in the year.

There is no doubt that this national infrastructure project represents a huge opportunity for the construction industry and a major boost for the UK economy. Beth West, Commercial Director at HS2 ltd, describes it as “a motorway for the UK’s rail network”

, and believes it will prove

transformational for all the regions that it touches, regenerating as it goes and helping to redress the north-south imbalance.

Beth West, Commercial Director at HS2 ltd © 2014 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and a member fi rm of the KPMG network of independent member fi rms affi liated with KPMG International Cooperative, a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.

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