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HS2 'will offer £15bn boost to economy every year'

Wed 30 Oct 2013

The government has reaffirmed the economic and strategic case for building the HS2 network.

A high-speed rail line is to be built between London and Birmingham and is expected to be up and running by 2026, while further extensions to Leeds and Manchester will also be created.

However, the project has divided opinion across the country, so the government has moved to stress the benefits it could create.

For instance, it believes HS2 could boost the economy by £15 billion a year and open up new opportunities for the north and the Midlands. Indeed, the Department for Transport said improving connectivity across the whole of England could enhance the reputations of these regions as "attractive places to visit, work, study and live".

The government has also aimed to dispel the notion that HS2 is unaffordable in the current climate, pointing out that expenditure on the project will be spread across 18 years at less than 0.17 per cent of annual gross domestic product. This, it said, is a sustainable level of investment for the country. 

In addition, the government noted that infrastructure investment has failed to keep pace with population growth in recent years. As a result, it believes pressure on the transport network will increase if action is not taken sooner rather than later, particularly as the West Coast Main Line is nearly at full capacity.

Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, insisted that a "patch and mend job" will not resolve these issues and that a new north-south railway is the "only option". He said the project will bring "massive benefits" to northern England and will be "great for commuters".

Mr McLoughlin went on to state that the UK needs to be "bold and deliver a world-class railway" that it can be "proud of", adding that the arguments put forward by critics of the project "just don't stack up".

For further information on any of the points raised in this article please contact our Transport and Infrastructure Team

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