Commenting on the Lords Economic Affairs Committee report into High Speed 2, Mike Spicer, Director of Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
“Northern England is in desperate need of major rail investment, and we are pleased that the report recognizes the economic importance of this, and the interdependence between HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail. These will unlock economic growth and connect businesses, employees and consumers, benefitting the whole of the UK.
“Businesses and commuters have been left frustrated by capacity constraints, congestion, and delays in the development of new routes, and will be concerned at the whispers that HS2 is at risk. We expect the government to confirm its commitment to the whole HS2 route at the next Spending Review, and for other vital projects, including Northern Powerhouse Rail.”
Alan Welsh, Policy Manager at the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said:
“There has been mounting calls in the media recently questioning the cost of HS2 and its perceived value for money. It begs the question as to whose best interests will be served if the scheme is abandoned because there is absolutely no guarantee that any money saved on HS2 will be used for transport elsewhere in the north. For years, Northern England has had to battle for every penny of infrastructure investment and HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, if delivered, will play a crucial role in boosting the northern economy.
“HS2 is not just about better connectivity, it’s about increasing capacity for people and goods and helping to relieve congestion on roads as well.
“It seems strange that amid mounting criticism of HS2, nobody is questioning plans for Crossrail 2 in the South East – a scheme that will cost £40 billion – double that of the Elizabeth line (Crossrail 1) which is still yet to open.
“Crossrail 2 is potentially be the biggest threat to HS2 ever getting past Birmingham and I would urge people in the North to continue making the strongest case for HS2 or risk losing billions of investment altogether.”