The Government Announced A HS2 Review: What Could This Mean For Birmingham?
The government has announced a review of the high-speed rail link HS2, expected to be published in the autumn. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the aim of the review would be “to get the facts on the table”. But should HS2 happen, and if the HS2 review recommends scrapping the project, what would it mean for Birmingham?
Damien Siviter, executive director at SevenCapital, commented: “The enhanced connectivity that HS2 brings to the regions could be hugely beneficial to business, specifically by significantly improving access to skills which allows business to grow. Based on that alone, HS2 should happen. However, for an incoming government, due to the scale and cost of the project, it is right that an incoming Government should review it and make sure that it will work based on their objectives for the future of business and transport in the UK.
“Should the decision be made to scrap HS2 completely, whilst it would be a blow, it is unlikely to undo all the progress that it has kickstarted already, particularly within Birmingham.
“The second largest city in the UK, Birmingham’s economy, population and regeneration has thrived in the years since HS2 was announced. Less due to the reality of speedier connections and widened access that the high-speed line will introduce, but more based on how HS2 Where London has started to burst at the seams and as a result has been pulling on the purse strings of businesses and its population for a long time, HS2 has presented Birmingham as a seriously good, affordable alternative, and with significantly more room to grow
“Birmingham has since succeeded in proving itself as a place where global business can thrive, that offers a fantastic way of life and that has unrivalled connectivity to the rest of the UK. Even without HS2, Birmingham’s position, at the heart of the UK’s transport network, already provides access to all major cities in under four hours, with major motorways, the busiest rail station outside London and one of the busiest airports in the country (and easy access to multiple others) all easily accessible.
“It’s perhaps this that has prompted the likes of HSBC and HMRC (to name just two) to identify and commit to the city as a base for their major headquarter operations – with HMRC securing the largest pre-let in the city in a decade.
“That’s not to mention the £billions in infrastructure and regeneration projects the city has since completed, under construction or in the pipeline.
“It’s also no mistake that the city succeeded in its bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games – notably at least four years before HS2 would be due to complete.
“None of this will go away if HS2 doesn’t come to fruition. Birmingham has now embarked on its own exciting journey, and the end is nowhere near in sight.”