HS2 and the continuing north-south divide | Letters

HS2 and the continuing north-south divide | Letters
Mixed reactions to Simon Jenkins’ call to halt the planned high-speed rail link between London and the Midlands

Regarding Simon Jenkins’ article (HS2 fails every test. This must be the end of it, 10 August), HS2 trains will serve the city centres of Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield. There are at least 20 city and town centre locations that will be served by HS2 trains from the south-east to Scotland. HS2 remains on track and within its funding envelope, and there is no government report that suggests otherwise. The government’s HS2 business case shows that for every £1 spent, £2.30 will be returned. We take our responsibility to taxpayers incredibly seriously and follow strict government guidelines on spending, including on pay. The work we have done to date has supported more than 2,000 UK businesses and 6,000 jobs, bringing benefits right across the country. Many more thousands of jobs, including 2,000 apprenticeships, will be supported by the project and can help drive a new generation into engineering and technology.

You quote Sir John Armitt, chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, but omit a key line. He says: “HS2 is a project whose time has come … Its benefits will be felt for decades to come.” Organisations from the TUC to the CBI continue to believe that HS2 is the right strategic intervention into the country. Elected civic and business leaders across the UK continue to see HS2 as the solution to their productivity gap, and parliament recently backed HS2 by a ratio of nearly 25 to 1.

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Source: Guardian Transport

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