West Midlands businesses hail cross party support for HS2

Jerry Blackett

Business leader Jerry Blackett says that cross party support for HS2 coming to the West Midlands is terrific news for the region’s business community.

Birmingham Chamber of Commerce chief executive Mr Blackett said he was delighted all three parties agreed on the benefits HS2 will bring.

“It’s been a tremendous couple of weeks, which began with the Liberal Democrats here in Birmingham, in which we’ve heard and witnessed strong support from all three parties.

“The fact the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour all support HS2 demonstrates how important HS2 will be to our regional and national economy.”

Mr Blackett said HS2 would bring 22,000 jobs and a boost of £1.5bn per year to the West Midlands economy.

“What really excites businesses in the West Midlands is being right at the heart of the network. Our region is the hub for services to London, the North, Scotland and Europe.”

Liberal Democrat Minister for Transport Norman Baker told his party conference in Birmingham that there was ‘a desperate need for more capacity north to south.’

Speaking at her party conference in Liverpool Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Transport Maria Eagle gave full support, calling for first phase legislation to go beyond Birmingham to include the northern cities.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said that neglecting major transport infrastructure would lead to neglecting the UK economy.

Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester he said the West Coast Main Line was ‘all but out of capacity.’

Referring to HS2, he said: “This will allow a levelling of the playing field, away from London and the South East.”

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