Today’s decision by the government to go give the
green light to HS2 was greeted as “a fantastic day for the West Midlands” by
business leaders in Birmingham but warned that the government must introduce
legislation to start the project this year.
Jerry Blackett, chief executive of Birmingham
Chamber of Commerce Group (BCCG), said HS2, part of a larger High Speed
Network, would create a fundamental change to the way people travel.
He said: “This is a fantastic day for the West
Midlands. However, the imperative is to press ahead with all speed because
delay will simply stall the impetus that today’s announcement has given.
“The transport secretary Justine Greening has
indicated that it could be another two years before Parliament even votes on
the proposition. This must not been allowed to happen. Delay would be damaging
for the project and it would push it into the heart of an election campaign.
“The national interest must come first and business
in Birmingham urges the government to press on with HS2 now so that it does not
become bogged down in unnecessary Parliamentary procedures.
“The Government must look towards not only with
pressing with the London-Birmingham HS2 link but publishing a plan soon for the
route of the line north of Birmingham.
“HS2 will mean it will take just 39 minutes to
travel from London to Birmingham and will help erode the north south divide by
drawing investment and skilled workers away from the economic stranglehold of
the south east.
“With rail growing at six per cent a year, and with
no sign of abating, the Chamber applauds the Secretary of State for her decision
to back the only viable solution to this looming capacity crunch.
“We have the Victorian’s to thank for our current
railway network and it has served us well, but we are now well into the 21st
Century and it’s about time we left our mark on the UK’s railway network.”
He added that HS2 has the potential to provide a
huge to boost the region’s economy by creating jobs and making it easier for
businesses to access markets quickly and efficiently. In backing HS2 today the Secretary of State will help create
22,000 jobs in the West Midlands and boost the regional economy by £1.5 billion