Capacity constraints on the railways mean that, even with recent upgrades, key sections of the railway will be full by 2024. This scenario is simply not acceptable. Businesses rely on connectivity and flexibility. It is no longer enough simply to patch over the cracks; a new approach is needed.

We believe this must be a new high speed rail network reaching across the country, both North to South and East to West. I am pleased that a political consensus has built up around the issue, but the BCC is urging all parties
to go much further, and sign a binding agreement that commits the next government – whatever its political colour – to progress the work already conducted by HS2 Ltd, the company established.

Despite budget constraints, infrastructure investment and planning must continue for high speed rail. HS2’s work is vital to the future success of the UK economy, and it must not be allowed to unravel or be delayed after a General Election. This is our best shot at a modern high speed rail network in the UK – an opportunity not to be wasted.