Sheffield Chamber welcomed the progress of Phase 2a of the HS2 hybrid bill

Richard Wright, Director of Policy and Representation at Sheffield Chamber, said: 

“Phase 2a is the route between Birmingham and Crewe. It builds upon Phase 1 which covers the line between London and Birmingham which is already being built, and is a necessary step towards Phase 2b which will connect Crewe with Manchester and Liverpool and, more importantly for us, Birmingham to Sheffield and Leeds.

“The bill got an excellent majority and wide cross party backing and shows this project is very much alive despite some of the negative and ill informed opinions that have been offered throughout its life. We should not lose sight of the fact that, in combination with Northern Powerhouse Rail, HS2 will start to give the North of England the transport investment it badly needs. Combined these projects will give us good North/South and East/West connectivity, more capacity, better services and a better environment. By not mixing slow and fast trains (which is what HS2 delivers) trains will run more efficiently and we can take cars and wagons off the roads which should be an objective for us all.

“Generally business would ask Governments to provide three basic things – infrastructure (including transport), a skilled workforce (at the right levels and in the right proportions for the economic strategy), and investment in research and development (to give us a good supply of new knowledge and products that we can commercialise and deliver value). After that it is the responsibility of business to create wealth and deliver jobs. Its a simple equation that we seem to complicate and get wrong some times. Devolution is an important part of the process because so many times we have shown that a nationally specified one size fits all approach does not work. Local regions, defined by economic factors like travel to work areas, supply chains or expertise in certain sectors, are able to focus resources more effectively. Resources are limited but we still have to compete in an internationally competitive world.”