Business leaders in Greater Birmingham today urged transport secretary Chris Grayling to ignore calls for HS2 to be scrapped and reiterate the government’s commitment to the project.
Business secretary Greg Clark said scrapping the link between London, the Midlands and the North of England would be “entirely the wrong approach” after former foreign secretary Boris Johnson said that instead the UK should build a bridge to Ireland and put HS2 on hold to focus on a high-speed link in the North of England.
Phase 1 of the railway between London and Birmingham was approved 18 months ago and will open in December 2026. Phase 2 is expected to launch in two separate stages. Phase 2a from the West Midlands to Crewe will begin in 2027 followed by Phase 2b from Crewe to Manchester and Birmingham to Leeds in 2033.
Paul Faulkner (pictured), chief executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, said: “In a time of great political and economic uncertainty, the last thing we need are headline-grabbing articles calling for HS2 to be scrapped.
“In particular, Phase 2 is the real game-changer for our region. Connecting Birmingham to eight of the UK’s 10 largest cities will offer our businesses the chance to explore and expand into new domestic and international markets along with improving connectivity across the country which will provide a real shot in the arm to productivity levels in the West Midlands and beyond.
“We are often told that building infrastructure fit for the 21st century is the key to unleashing the vast economic potential that exists locally so we are urging Mr Grayling to not waste this chance and use this year’s Conservative Conference in Birmingham to reiterate the Government’s support for the project – the country’s future prosperity rests upon it.”