Enabling works for Britain’s new high speed line have continued to pick up pace with HS2 revealing it now supports 9,000 jobs.
The previous update, released in September, revealed that HS2 was supporting 7,000 jobs, a figure that is anticipated to rise to 15,000 by 2020 and double to 30,000 during peak construction in 2021/22.
Across 250 sites on the first phase of the route, works currently include land clearance, demolitions, tree planting, archaeology, utility diversions, and environmental mitigations. Much of this is centred around new station sites in Birmingham, Old Oak Common and Euston.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling said “this is just the beginning” on the day of the announcement on May 23.
He added: “Delivering HS2 is a manifesto commitment. Today’s announcement shows HS2 is happening and is yet another example of how this government is making sure Britain works for everyone, delivering jobs and growth across the country.”
More than 2,000 firms now have contracts with HS2 – 70 per cent of them SMEs and 98 per cent of them British.
RIA chief executive Darren Caplan said: “For every pound currently spent on rail, over £2.20 of income is generated in the wider economy. So when HS2 Phase 1 from London to Birmingham is completed, not only will we radically improve connectivity across the UK, but the whole economy will benefit too.”
Earlier on in May, Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, called the opening of new HS2 offices in Manchester a “real statement of intent” for the high-speed line’s second phase.
HS2 does not yet have the legal powers to build Phases 2a and 2b between the West Midlands and Crewe, and Crewe to Manchester and West Midlands to Leeds, respectively. The new base for its core team in the north is a step in the right direction, however, as preparations for the project continue.
Mark Thurston, HS2 CEO, added: “By having a new base in Manchester we are able to work closer with our Northern partners. Together, HS2 and NPR [Northern Powerhouse Rail] will enable faster, more frequent and reliable services throughout the North.
“The spare capacity released on the northern sections of the HS2 network will enable future NPR services, so the two projects work seamlessly to maximise the benefits of the UK’s investment in future rail.”