Wouter Schuitemaker, Investment Director at Business Birmingham, commented on today’s announcement of phase 2 of HS2:
“HS2 is a crucial step towards redressing the north-south divide and boosting regional economies. Phase Two will provide cities such as Birmingham with quicker links to the north of England, which is worth over £200 million, and help to re-balance the UK’s economy.
“One in ten foreign investors looking at the UK are considering the West Midlands – making it the most popular region outside London and the Southeast, according to Ernst & Young. To bring these investors here, we must have improved transport links. For international companies, fast and reliable transport networks are significant factors in deciding where to locate their next base. Infrastructure improvements such as HS2 are vital for making a strong business case that the UK is the right place in which to invest.
“The Government must press ahead with infrastructure projects such as HS2 without delay, as they improve the attractiveness of regional cities as destinations for investment. Cities like Birmingham provide a cost-effective, high quality alternative to London, but are still within easy reach of the capital with the arrival of HS2. The competition between European locations to attract inward investment is stronger than ever, and we cannot afford to lose out because schemes such as HS2 are mired in red tape and delays.”