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CBI worry over loss of HS2's northern leg

Business leaders in the West Midlands say they are dismayed at the possible scrapping of HS2's second phase.

Nikki Paterson

The Prime Minister is considering cancelling or delaying the leg of HS2 from Birmingham to Manchester in response to soaring costs.

Rishi Sunak is said to have been in talks over the future of the project after costs rose by a further £8 billion.

The Midlands region of the Confederation of Business Industry today said abandoning the northern part of HS2 would hit investment in the area.

CBI regional director Nikki Paterson said: “All the research tells us that poor transport connectivity is a major drag on productivity and ultimately on growth.

"It represents a barrier for inward investment and blocker for companies looking to expand and grow.

“If confirmed, abandoning this part of the HS2 project would hurt investor confidence, prevent much needed and long-promised improvements to East-West links across the Midlands and the North, and ultimately damage the attractiveness of investing across these regions.

"The line isn’t complete and yet we are already seeing the impact on confidence in Birmingham, with new development and job creation taking place.

“Increasing capacity on the existing network, enabling more local commuter services, and moving freight off roads are just some of the benefits of sticking to existing plans for HS2.

"Delivering the HS2 network, in full, will connect eight of the nation’s 10 biggest cities, creating jobs, opportunity and prosperity throughout the country whilst at the same time playing a key role in reducing road emissions and congestion.”

l Special report – Page 17

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