28/01/13

Commenting on today’s announcement by the Department for Transport on High Speed 2, Dr Adam Marshall, Director of Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:

“Business welcomes the Prime Minister's commitment to extending high-speed rail to the great cities of the Midlands and the North. Transformative infrastructure projects like HS2 create confidence, jobs and competitiveness, as long as commitments and announcements lead swiftly to action on the ground.

“Our existing railway network is at capacity and cannot be endlessly patched up at astronomical cost, as opponents of HS2 continue to suggest.

“Yet we hope ministers can go further still. Alongside the commitment to extend the line to Manchester and Leeds, they must envision and plan for a full national network. They must also reassure business communities in cities off the high-speed network that conventional lines will continue to carry good-quality services for both passengers and freight.

“Finally, business is concerned at the news that the proposed link to Britain's only global hub airport, Heathrow, has been put on hold. This is an unwelcome consequence of the government's near-complete paralysis on the crucial issue of aviation and global connectivity.”

Quotes from Chambers of Commerce across the country:

Richard Wright, Executive Director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said:

“We are delighted with the announcement that the Sheffield city region is getting one of the five stations for HS2. We now need to focus hard on connectivity from the station across the whole of the region, and integration with the existing transport network, to deliver the maximum economic benefits.”

Clive Memmott, Chief Executive of Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said:

“We have supported this pivotal project from the outset, as we believe that the UK deserves a 21st century railway to efficiently link the country's great cities. Our transport infrastructure has fallen behind our international competitors, hindering our economic recovery, and this is a major step forward in putting this right.”

Len Cruddas, Chief Executive of Leeds, York, and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said:

“High Speed Rail will contribute to the continued growth of the city region’s economy by providing improved connectivity with regional, national and international markets, as well as enhancing the competitive advantage of the area. The Chamber will continue to work with partners to ensure that the maximum benefits of High Speed are achieved by the city and beyond.”

George Cowcher, Chief Executive of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, said:

“Poor transport infrastructure has held back the UK's ability to take full advantage of opportunities to grow its businesses. High Speed Rail will bring all the regions of Britain closer together and create the capacity our businesses need to invest with confidence, expand and compete on a global scale.”

James Ramsbotham, Chief Executive of North East Chamber of Commerce, added:

“We welcome confirmation that HS2 will extend to Leeds but, in order to really maximise the full potential of the North East to deliver the economic growth of which it is capable, this network must extend all the way through this region to Scotland.”

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Notes to editors:

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) sits at the heart of a powerful nationwide network of 51 Accredited Chambers of Commerce, serving over 104,000 businesses across the UK, which employ over five million people. For more information visit: www.britishchambers.org.uk


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