HS2 could boost Midlands economy on back of Covid-19, businesses told

HS2 train

HS2 could be the boost the regional economy needs on the back of the Covid-19 outbreak, a Coventry and Warwickshire business audience has been told.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce held its latest #PolicyHour video call with representatives from HS2 and were given an insight into how the project is moving forward.

Businesses heard how work on the new line has continued over recent weeks with social distancing measures in place and that Phase One between London and Birmingham was expected to be completed between 2028 and 2031.

The audience were told that 30,000 people would be employed to deliver the project at its peak, that there are more than 400,000 supply chain contracts up for grabs, and that the project could boost the local economy by £14bn as part of a long-term growth strategy, led by local partners.

Companies in Coventry and Warwickshire can found out about the opportunities available via the www.FinditinCw.co.ukwebsite and they include everything from the construction supply chain through to security and waste removal.

Speaking at the event, Iain Andrews, Head of Community Engagement for HS2, said: “None of us can say for sure what will happen after this crisis but we know that this is the only major shovel-ready project of this size in the country. It’s the biggest infrastructure project underway in Europe.

“It is going to provide a stimulus to the economy and could be the boost this region needs. Already 82 businesses from the Warwickshire area are involved with HS2 and we want even more to put themselves forward for contracts.

“It’s important to us that companies in the region benefit and that there is a positive knock-on effect for the area so we’d encourage companies in the Coventry and Warwickshire to look at the opportunities available.”

Once built, the audience heard, HS2 will increase capacity and free up existing lines for regional services and freight. The existing network is inefficient businesses were told.

Sean Rose, policy officer at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We were very pleased to be able to hear about the progress on HS2 and it gave members the opportunity to ask questions on everything from procurement through to the impact it will have on other rail services in the future.

A Meet the Buyer event with HS2 is being held jointly between the Chamber and the CWLEP Growth Hub on the www.finditinCW.co.uk platform on June 4.