Chambers Join Forces to Press Chancellor on HS2

10th June 2015

Chambers of Commerce representing more than 11,000 businesses in the East Midlands, Yorkshire and the North East have today written a joint letter to the Treasury, urging Chancellor George Osborne to bring forward the confirmation and delivery of the Eastern Leg of HS2.

The letter, which has been signed by the Presidents and Chief Executives of the chambers for Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, Doncaster, Sheffield, the North East and Bradford, Leeds, York and North Yorkshire, says it's imperative that Government confirms the route as quickly as possible and accelerates its delivery plans. It refers to research undertaken by professional services firm KPMG in 2013, which suggested the proposed leg, linking Birmingham with Leeds via the East Midlands and Sheffield and then further north through a direct connection to the East Coast Main Line, has the potential to deliver a GDP impact of £4.1bn for the East Midlands, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire. The Chancellor was in Derby on Monday, where he unveiled his vision to make the Midlands an 'Engine for Growth' in the UK. He said that HS2 is -the great engineering project of our age and it will transform the economic geography of our country. He also said that it will -bring massive benefits to the Midlands by way of new jobs, enhanced connectivity, capacity and regeneration. And Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin yesterday (2 Jun) said that the HS2 project will begin within two years and will be constructed in full, after the general election had delivered a -massive vote of confidence in the scheme. The areas along the proposed Eastern Leg of HS2 are already home to some of the UK's most dynamic and innovative manufacturing and engineering firms, and also boast a strong professional services sector in their cities, a thriving construction sector and a burgeoning creative industries sector, among others. The letter states that improving links between these businesses will allow them to exploit the benefits of agglomeration, boost success in these key sectors and help to forge an economy that is truly balanced, both geographically and sectorally. The increased productivity and competitiveness which the HS2 Eastern Leg will facilitate could also bolster growth locally and support long-term international success. Chris Hobson, Head of Information and Representation at East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), said: -HS2 is the single-biggest transformational transport infrastructure project in generations and represents a huge opportunity for businesses in the East Midlands. It will bring the capacity and connectivity that will help underpin the region's future success, so it must deliver for the whole region. -As representatives of more than 11,000 businesses along the proposed eastern leg, we are calling on the Chancellor to proceed to delivery of HS2 without delay, ensuring the legal framework is completed as soon as possible and the groundwork is done to enable the concurrent development of the Eastern and Western Legs of Phase 2. -The creation of a new economic powerhouse in the north, to complement the well-established one in the south, places further emphasis on ensuring north-to-south connectivity for this region, the 'Engine for Growth' which provides the UK with its manufacturing spine. -However, uncertainty kills confidence. It is imperative that Government confirms the route as soon as possible and that delivery plans are accelerated to maximise the business benefits which come with creating a national rail network that can compete with the best in the world and create the opportunities needed for long term economic growth.

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