Leaders from across the East Midlands met with Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani to discuss how the region will reap the benefits of High Speed 2.
At the event in Nottingham yesterday, the Minister heard how communities and businesses can maximise the potential of Britain’s new railway line, including through tens of thousands of new jobs in the region, with billions of pounds injected into its economy.
She also met representatives from Bridgeway Consulting, one of more than 300 businesses across the Midlands currently working on the delivery of HS2, before taking a tour of the company’s site.
Nusrat Ghani, HS2 Minister said: “HS2 is already underway and supporting more than 7,000 jobs at 2,000 businesses – including 300 companies across the Midlands.
“Once built it will be a catalyst for regeneration in the East Midlands, adding nearly £4 billion to its economy and around 74,000 jobs.
“We will continue to work closely with local authorities and businesses as we drive this ambitious project forward, to ensure that this region benefits from the full potential of HS2.”
Pino De Rosa, managing director of Bridgeway Consulting Limited said: “HS2 is a once in a lifetime infrastructure project that will transform opportunities for the people of the Midlands and the North and we’re proud to be working on it. So far the project has enabled us to create a number of job and training opportunities within our organisation and going forward will give us the confidence to invest in people, equipment, and technology.
“HS2 will benefit businesses and communities across many sectors and will, I’m sure, be a positive impact on the wider Midlands Engine and Northern Powerhouse workforce.”
Passengers in the region will be served by a new East Midlands hub in Toton which will provide high-speed connections to Leeds, Newcastle, Birmingham and London.
Just last month the transport secretary reaffirmed the government’s commitment to building phase 2 of HS2 between Birmingham, the East Midlands and the North, adding that a failure to do so would represent a “betrayal to the North and Midlands”.
It came after authorities and businesses across the Midlands and the North published an open letter to political party leaders calling on them to commit to completing phase 2b.
Allan Cook, Chair, HS2 Ltd also attended and said: “Bridgeway Consulting is a prime example of how HS2 is creating careers and opportunities for local people years before the first high-speed trains arrive in the East Midlands. HS2 requires over 30,000 people to design and build the railway, and what we’re seeing today is just the beginning for this once-in-a generation investment.
“What is also evident here is the joined-up approach taken by local government and businesses to ensure the East Midlands is well equipped to maximise the benefits HS2 will bring. The Government has committed to the Eastern leg of HS2 and it is imperative that this momentum is maintained.”
Councillor Kay Cutts, leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “HS2 presents a once in a generation opportunity for the local, regional and national economy and our ambitions for Toton and the wider area are unprecedented in the East Midlands.
“We are working hard to make the Toton Growth Zone a jewel in the crown of the region by creating a network of garden villages and an innovation campus supporting around 10,000 high-skilled jobs.
“Our aspirations are building on our sector strengths of manufacturing, technology and high-value services, and will be a major catalyst for attracting a wider range of skills and businesses to the region.”
HS2 is a key part of the government’s industrial strategy, which aims to deliver economic growth right across the country through investment in skills, industries and infrastructure.
Phase 2b of the project will bring high speed rail services from Crewe to Manchester and Birmingham to Leeds, via the East Midlands. Phase 1 will link Birmingham and London, while phase 2a will connect Birmingham and Crewe.
Once built, HS2 will become the first new railway built north of London since the Victorian era, unlocking the potential for hundreds of thousands of jobs and boosting the economies of towns and cities across the country.