The West Midlands (and the UK) wins with HS2

Yesterday the BBC reported High speed ‘losers’ revealed in an article widely quoted in the press.

The Transport Secretary was quoted in a following piece  and pointed out investment is taking place all over the UK. Network Rail is set to spend £37bn on the existing network.

However, there was little attention given to the enormous benefits high speed rail will deliver.

Let’s take a look at the West Midlands in detail and the projected yearly boost in economic output:

Birmingham: between £764m and £1,548m
Coventry: £136m and £255.3m
Cannock & Lichfield: between £97.9m and £233.3m
Wolverhampton: between £64.6m and £101.1m
Sandwell: between £129.7m and £287.7m
Solihull: between £213.6m and £475.3m
Walsall: between £116.8m and £253.2m
Dudley: between £83.2m and £137.7m
South Staffordshire: between £19.4m and £36.9m
Worcestershire: between £214m and £375.3m
North Warwickshire: between £61.1m and £127.9m

In short, the West Midlands benefits more than any other region and is at the heart of the HS2 network.

Centro research concludes:

  • Phase 1 and 2 bring 51,000 jobs to the West Midlands
  • And deliver £4.1bn per year boost in economic output

Again the pressing need to address capacity was ignored. Without HS2 we cannot meet demand for passenger and freight services. Here at the heart of the network this is critical.

  • Birmingham and Coventry are in top 4 UK cities for rail growth
  • Rail has grown 14% in last year in the West Midlands
  • Now more passengers than any time since 1920s on the UK rail network

Finally, it is worth noting that opponents have continually rubbished KPMG’s work since it was announced.

They reject the economic benefits for cities such as Birmingham and Manchester – and doubtless all of those listed above – however they are prepared to actively promote what they see as negatives.

So do they accept KPMG’s work or not? Surely the answer can’t be ‘sometimes.’

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