Government’s short-term attitude to HS2 neglects ‘huge economic opportunities’, says East Midlands Chamber

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Business leaders across the East Midlands have hit out at more delays to the HS2 high-speed railway line.

The Government has announced construction of certain sections of HS2 are to be delayed in an effort to cut costs. The rail project has been affected by various setbacks and now some areas of the route could be delayed.

The line goes from London-Birmingham, with planned legs to Manchester and Leeds.

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However, the eastern extension has already been axed. The Government’s Integrated Rail Plan, revealed in 2021, ditched the planned HS2 eastern leg high-speed railway line from Birmingham to Leeds, via a hub at Toton, in favour of local improvements, including a high-speed line from Birmingham to East Midlands Parkway.

An aerial view of the HS2 construction site near Lea Marston, North Warwickshire.An aerial view of the HS2 construction site near Lea Marston, North Warwickshire.
An aerial view of the HS2 construction site near Lea Marston, North Warwickshire.

The western Birmingham-Manchester leg remains – but construction will now be delayed..

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Chris Hobson, East Midlands Chamber director of policy and external affairs, said: “This Government is once again minimising the huge opportunities that HS2 brings to progressing many of our country’s

overarching economic objectives, including levelling up and net zero, by providing the infrastructure that will spur clean growth and regeneration in UK regions.

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“Investing in big infrastructure is a vital ingredient in any successful economy, as we have outlined in our Business Manifesto for Growth, yet as a country we continue to adopt a very short-term attitude by slowing down or scaling back this investment any time we need to make some cost savings.

“In the East Midlands, where we receive the lowest transport infrastructure spending per head at 64.7% of the UK average, we need to see a firm commitment to progressing the Eastern Leg through Parliament via a dedicated bill as soon as possible.

“This will allow us to build on the long-term vision being developed for economic activity in our towns and cities, which will ultimately provide a return on this investment by creating growth, jobs and prosperity.”