HS2 – The final countdown

The war of words is hotting up in the build up to the final decision on HS2 which the Government says will be announced on or before Friday 13th January.  Today more than 100 business leaders, MPs and economists have mounted a campaign in favour of HS2 in letters to the Financial Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian, they say HS2 would create jobs and ease transport overcrowding. 

The group urging the government to approve the rail link argues that it would be a boost for business, especially across the north of England, which has been hit hard in the economic slowdown.  The letter, which says up to one million British jobs could be created, states: “Economic studies show that effective modes of transport, including high-speed rail, enable entrepreneurs to get their goods and services to market in a secure and timely manner and facilitate the movement of workers to the most suitable jobs.”  It goes on: “The absence of a high-speed rail line connecting the north of England to London and the European Union is a continuous embarrassment to British businesses promoting UK plc overseas.”

BBC transport correspondent Richard Westcott said the letter showed there was cross-party support for the HS2 rail line, with union leaders like RMT head Bob Crow and Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, “effectively supporting a Conservative transport policy”.