HS2 'to create just 75 jobs in Staffordshire', MP claims

The construction of HS2 is set to create just 75 jobs for people in Staffordshire, an MP has claimed.

Anti-HS2 protesters near Lichfield
Anti-HS2 protesters near Lichfield

Michael Fabricant said he was shocked to learn the figure during a meeting that HS2 Ltd bosses called last week to discuss the impact of the £106 billion line in the county.

The Lichfield MP and long-time HS2 opponent said it was impossible to justify the destruction of ancient woodlands and disruption to residents for such a small number of new roles.

Job creation has been one of HS2's main selling points used by ministers and West Midlands Mayor Andy Street to defend the project's spiralling cost, which is set to be well over treble its original budget.

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Phase One of the project, which was given the green light by Parliament earlier this year, is set to carve through 45 miles of Staffordshire countryside.

Conservative MP Mr Fabricant said he ended the meeting early due to frustration with HS2 Ltd's failure to answer a number of key questions.

"I was shocked to learn that only 75 jobs will be created in the whole county of Staffordshire through the construction of HS2," he said.

Unknown

"And when asked how many of those jobs would be in Lichfield, I was told the number is unknown.

"I would imagine most of those jobs would be in Stafford where they are constructing a HS2 station.

"It seems that the justification for HS2 keeps changing. First it was to shave 10 minutes off a Birmingham to London journey, then it switched to increasing North-South rail capacity, but now, through the persistence of the Mayor Andy Street, the latest reason seems to be job creation.

"Well, it ain't happening in Staffordshire, merely, the destruction of six ancient woodlands in Lichfield alone."

HS2 Ltd, said the firm doesn’t know exactly how many jobs will be created in Staffordshire at this stage, but between HS2 and its Tier One contractors and their supply chains, it’s likely to be "a big number".

Earlier this year Boris Johnson said around 22,000 construction jobs would be created to build Phase One of HS2, including 7,000 jobs in the West Midlands, where Balfour Beatty is the main contractor.

Mr Street insists that jobs created by HS2 are a vital part of the region's economic recovery plan post-Covid-19.

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