HS2 Growth Taskforce comes to Manchester to secure maximum boost for region's economy

Published on Tuesday, 01 October 2013 11:03
Written by Sinead Fynes Black

High speed rail roadshows series begins in Manchester.The HS2 Growth Taskforce is meeting key figures from across the north west in Manchester today (1 October 2013) as part of a series of roadshows designed to ensure regions maximise the benefits of high speed rail.

HS2 is already set to play a key role in job creation, regeneration and development around the revamped Piccadilly and Airport Interchange stations on the proposed route.

Commercial Secretary to the Treasury and Chair of the HS2 Growth Taskforce Lord Deighton said:

"Good infrastructure leads to a stronger economy and Britain cannot afford to leave the economic future of great cities like Manchester to an overcrowded, 200 year old railway. HS2 will give a massive boost to the region, creating jobs and new business opportunities. But we don't have to wait to feel the benefits; the Growth Taskforce is supporting cities to act now so the rewards can be felt long before the railway opens.

"HS2 is not just a project for London. The Growth Taskforce is determined to see the benefits stretch far and wide across the country, with an estimated 70% of jobs expected to be outside London. That is why getting out and meeting with our city and business leaders is so vital and will go a long way to informing our final report to the government."

Leader of Manchester City Council Sir Richard Leese said:

"We welcome the Growth Taskforce. The stimulus offered by HS2 represents a once in a century opportunity for Manchester and Greater Manchester and it's one we are determined to seize.

"HS2 is fundamentally important to the future growth of Britain's economy as a whole but also to enable major cities such as Manchester and their surrounding regions to compete for trade, investment and jobs on a global stage. By the 2020s, our already clogged rail and road networks will be in urgent need of extra capacity and there is a pressing need for a new network."

Combined with the current programme of electrification and plans for completing the Northern Hub, this improved connectivity will unlock the enormous potential and opportunities that the cities of the north west have to offer – making them more attractive places to locate and do business.

The government believes HS2 will be a key driver of jobs and growth. It is estimated that the new stations in Manchester could support around 40,000 jobs along with the development of 4,000 new homes. While research published last month by KPMG showed that HS2 could boost productivity in Greater Manchester by up to £1.3 billion per year within five years of the railway opening. The government sees the taskforce as crucial in unlocking this potential.

Using their wealth of knowledge and experience, as well as learning from other successful projects, the Growth Taskforce will make recommendations to the government and offer a vision for how HS2 can act as a catalyst for regeneration in the regions. For example, the effect of HS1 on King's Cross clearly demonstrates regeneration at work with Google and Waitrose now moving in.

Equally, for those cities not immediately on the HS2 route, Network Rail's recently published report, Better Connections, shows how over 100 towns and cities on the existing network could benefit from quicker, more frequent journeys and faster connections. It explains that very little additional capacity can be squeezed from the existing railway. HS2 will provide Britain's main rail arteries with new capacity, taking significant inter-city traffic off the existing network and allowing more local and regional services to run on these lines.

Membership of the independent expert group comprising senior business, academia and local government representatives was originally confirmed in July. The taskforce will today (1 October 2013) welcome new member Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and Deputy Chair of inward investment body Leeds and Partners. His knowledge and experience, particularly his work on rebalancing the economy of the north, will prove extremely valuable to the taskforce.

The regional roadshows will continue to the end of the year with further meetings set to take place across the country. Crucially they will also involve representatives from non station cities ensuring the taskforce hears from as many people as possible.

HS2 will:

  • link eight of Britain's largest 10 cities
  • provide 351 miles of track linking London to Birmingham and Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds
  • link 18 cities with HS2 services from 2033
  • see Phase 1 open in 2026 and Phase 2 open in 2033
  • see up to 18 trains per hour run in each direction with phase 2
  • see trains will run at 225 miles per hour, with the potential to increase this to 250 miles per hour

Source: DFT

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