Birmingham will be one of the best connected cities in the UK providing jobs and economic growth right across the West Midlands, transport minister Stephen Hammond said today (January 28).
Mr Hammond visited Birmingham for a tour of the proposed HS2 station site at Moor Street in the city centre as plans for phase 2 were unveiled by the Government linking Birmingham with Manchester and Leeds.
“Birmingham and the West Midlands can take advantage of being right at the centre of the high-speed rail network and the benefits it will bring to the existing rail and road network through released capacity,” Mr Hammond said.
“HS2 is vital as an engine for growth in the UK and the West Midlands will be at the heart of that.”
Birmingham City Council cabinet member for development, jobs and skills, Cllr Tahir Ali said: “The announcement of phase 2 is great news for Birmingham and the wider West Midlands region bringing jobs, delivering tremendous opportunities for growth and investment, and improving transport infrastructure.”
Centro chief executive Geoff Inskip said journey times between Birmingham and Manchester and Leeds would be halved by HS2.
“This provides a real economic boost and releases capacity on our crowded existing network for more local, regional and freight services,” he said.
“We’re excited because we’re right at the heart of this network and the challenge for us now is to get the very best return we can from HS2.”
Birmingham Chamber of Commerce chief executive Jerry Blackett added: “Fast direct high speed rail connections and lower operating costs will make the West Midlands – which will be at the heart of a network stretching from London to Scotland – an increasingly attractive alternative to the overheated South East for business investment.”
Wouter Schuitemaker, Investment Director at Business Birmingham, commented: “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.”
Today’s announcement of HS2 phase 2 connects the West Midlands with the East Midlands, Yorkshire and the North West, linking eight of the UK’s ten biggest cities.
HS2 will cut Birmingham to Manchester journey times from the current 1h 31m to 41m and Birmingham to Leeds from 2h to 57m.
Independent research reveals phase one of HS2 (from Birmingham to London) will generate 22,000 jobs in the West Midlands and deliver £1.5bn per year to the regional economy.