Northern Powerhouse chiefs welcome start on £106bn HS2 project

HS2 could create 22,000 jobs, says the GovernmentHS2 could create 22,000 jobs, says the Government
HS2 could create 22,000 jobs, says the Government
Northern Powerhouse chiefs today welcomed the official start of HS2.

The controversial high-speed rail project is running massively over budget

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the project will create thousands of jobs and create vital links between urban areas.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Johnson said: “HS2 is at the heart of our plans to build back better – and with construction now formally under way, it’s set to create around 22,000 new jobs.

The planned high speed rail routeThe planned high speed rail route
The planned high speed rail route

“As the spine of our country’s transport network, the project will be vital in boosting connectivity between our towns and cities.”

The four main contractors for Phase One between London and the West Midlands will now switch from enabling works, scheme design and preparatory work to full construction.

The link will eventually reach Manchester and as far as Golborne, near Wigan.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Northern Powerhouse Partnership Director Henri Murison said: “Major infrastructure projects like HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) are already providing jobs and opportunities now in the construction phase, with jobs being supported through an early bridge contract in Darlington to future contracts for from key facilities like Skinningrove.

“They also have the potential to transform the UK economy by attracting investment and stimulating growth in the long term. We will be expecting jobs across the Northern Powerhouse to be created in significant numbers throughout the supply chain by all the contractors involved.

“It is also crucial that work starts on the Northern parts of HS2, integrated with NPR, as soon as possible. Work should be starting now on the new line starting from Leeds down to Toton on the East alongside from Manchester, through Manchester Airport and Crewe.

"Increasing capacity on the North’s rail network and better connecting our towns and cities will be vital in the economic regeneration of the Northern Powerhouse – both now and long in the future.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Government-commissioned Oakervee Review warned last year that the final bill for HS2 could reach £106 billion at 2019 prices.

Despite it running tens of billions of pounds over budget and several years behind schedule, the PM gave the green light for the railway in February 2020.

The project was given a revised budget and schedule as part of his decision.

Two months’ later, ministers gave the go ahead for it to enter the construction phase.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Most activity this year will be focused on HS2’s city centre stations and major construction compounds such as in Old Oak Common, west London and Calvert, Buckinghamshire.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps defended the need for HS2 despite changing commuting habits due to the coronavirus crisis.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think more and more people will have a more balanced and possibly better life as a result. However, we’re not building this for what happens over the next couple of years or even the next 10 years.

“We’re building this as with the west coast and east coast mainlines for 150 years and still going strong."

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.