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CHAMBER NEWS


The voices arguing for the HS2 network to be completed in full


Ahead of the National Infrastructure Commission’s recommendations to Government, Midlands voices from the worlds of politics, business and industry came together to publish a report titled HS2 Midlands Voices, arguing the full Y-shaped HS2 network must be completed in full to enable long-promised “levelling up” of the regional and national economy. Dan Robinson takes a look at what some of the leaders have said.


“The wider area served by the HS2 Eastern Leg is home to 13 million people and about six million jobs, equating to 20% of the UK – and larger than the economy of Denmark. HS2 presents a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity to harness these strengths and be a lever for housing growth, social mobility and the creation of value-jobs. “Estimates suggest HS2 will create 74,000 jobs across


the region and add £4bn to the economy. The Eastern Leg has been identified as delivering the biggest return on investment for the entire project by tackling some of the labour supply problems that have stifled business growth in the past.” Scott Knowles, East Midlands Chamber chief executive


“We are an entrepreneurial people in the East Midlands, home to thousands of small businesses. We make planes, trains, and automobiles at Rolls Royce, Toyota and Bombardier, all of whom are based here and contribute an enormous amount to the wealth of the nation. It is now time to embrace the levelling up agenda and invest in the HS2 line.


“Our plan is to have a railway station which serves as a hub to travel


north, south, east, or west, with much improved road connections planned around the station itself. More importantly, we have taken the opportunity to develop an innovation campus at Toton working with the universities of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent and Derby. This campus will support the creation of new technology, where connections to the rest of the country – and indeed the world – will be vital.” Kay Cutts, Nottinghamshire County Council leader


“Beyond the economics, businesses also recognised that wider benefits from HS2 would emerge as a result of increased network capacity, reduced waiting times, less cars on the road and more frequent services improving transport connectivity within the region. In particular, it was acknowledged that HS2 would play a fundamental part in realising the Government’s long- held ambition to move away from a reliance on the South to drive economic growth and bring prosperity to all four corners of the country.” Paul Faulkner, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce CEO


42 business network December 2020/January 2021


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