Midlands cities could be global leaders

Cities in the Midlands could become global leaders thanks to HS2 – the brand new planned high speed rail network linking London with the Midlands and North.

That’s the prediction of key figures from business, politics and the trade union movement.

The Growth Taskforce – which brings together figures from across the political divide – delivered its recommendations to the Government and called for immediate action to maximise the social and economic impacts of the high-speed rail project.

Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council and member of the HS2 Growth Taskforce, said: “Studies within the West Midlands have shown that with HS2 alone there is a potential for an additional 22,000 jobs and £1.7bn per year of economic growth.

“With the implementation of our connectivity package, which provides for full integration into the existing transport network, this increases to 50,000 jobs and £4bn per year.

“In addition to this we have just launched our Birmingham Curzon HS2 Masterplan, which shows the potential for growth and regeneration around our city centre station for 700,000 square metres of new floor space and an additional 14,000 jobs.”

The taskforce’s recommendations include:

• Local bodies to create tailored growth plans for cities along the HS2 route
• Local leaders and business to use HS2 to improve their regions through the creation of world-leading transport links
• Work to begin to help youngsters understand and build on the career opportunities HS2 will create
• Ensuring HS2 contracts lead to local job creation, skills development and apprenticeships.

Due to targeted plans for local development, local businesses are in pole position to win up to £25bn of contracts that HS2 will generate across the country.

Former deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine – who has lobbied for increasing the power and potential of the regions – said. “The HS2 Growth Taskforce has shown just the kind of thinking needed to maximise growth and unleash the potential of great cities such as Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester and Sheffield,” he said.

“The report provides a clear view of what must be done, and equally importantly who must do it, if we are to get Britain truly ready to benefit from HS2.”

Author: Dan Butler

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