Lancashire Times
A Voice of the North
5:00 AM 21st November 2021

IoD: HS2 Decision Will Have Far Reaching Impacts On Levelling Up And Business Investment In The North

Responding to the UK Government’s announcement to cancel the proposed extension of HS2 to Leeds, Dr Roger Barker, the Institute of Directors’ Policy Director, said:

“Businesses across the North of England in particular are hugely disappointed by the Government’s announcement to not go ahead with the eastern line of HS2 to Leeds. This decision is likely to have far reaching impacts on a wide range of investment decisions. It will also exert a negative impact on the levelling up agenda and stymie efforts to take forward the sustainability of the UK’s transport infrastructure.

Dr Roger Barker
Dr Roger Barker
“The point of HS2 is not only to accelerate mobility between different parts of the UK, but also to increase the capacity of the rail network – reducing reliance on flights and road haulage. With the cancellation of the eastern extension, it will no longer be possible to remove inter-city services from existing, congested rail links – with the result that parts of northern England will remain subject to a second-class transport infrastructure for decades to come.

“The UK desperately needs to take a long-term approach to investment in infrastructure – which accords equal importance to all parts of the UK. At a time when the financing costs of capital expenditure are at historically low levels, we should be investing in the physical and digital infrastructure which does so much to support the competitiveness of UK business. The Government’s decision is also likely to underestimate the complexity, cost and disruption of upgrading existing rail links.

“For many small and medium sized businesses, it must seem that, once again, their long-term interests are not being prioritised by government.”