Jerry Blackett: The strategic case for HS2 (long version)
The regeneration for Birmingham, it’s the equivalent of, this is the Olympics for Birmingham. We will be building off High Speed 2 not just all the infrastructure that will sit around two significant stations, but also we will become the centre of excellence for all things high speed. So connectivity is key to us. We now know the West Coast main line’s filling up. We’re not going to have a railway fit for purpose. The conclusion is we need new rail capacity. Well for very modest additional premiums, build a fast one, build the best in class, and get the advantages of speed as well as the critical requirement of more capacity.
The Prime Minister is absolutely right when he talks about the importance of rebalancing the economy. It is a geographic rebalance, it’s an industrial rebalance. We are the most centralised economy in Western Europe. You would not see in France, Germany, great regions unbalanced in the way that we are. We are not getting the most out of Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield; these cities are sort of aching, itching to do more for the country’s economy.
Published 7 November 2013