Yorkshire firms gearing up for £10bn HS2 contracts

THE PROJECT to build HS2 could secure more than 50,000 jobs in Yorkshire, according to the Government-owned company responsible for developing and promoting Britain’s new north-south high speed rail network.

An artist impression of an HS2 station

HS2 Ltd said 55 Yorkshire companies have registered to attend conferences in London and Manchester next month in the hope of joining the supply chain for the massive civil engineering scheme.

Contracts worth £10bn will be up for grabs through HS2.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Yorkshire is well represented in the list of attendees at the conferences, suggesting that the region’s engineering firms are gearing up for the opportunity.

Only North West and the West Midlands, which have strong manufacturing bases, and London, home to many head offices, have more companies registered to attend.

Yorkshire has more registrations than the North East, Northern Ireland, the East Midlands, East Anglia, the South East, the South West, Scotland and Wales.

Regional companies represents 10 per cent of registrations.

A spokesman for HS2 Ltd pointed to “strong evidence” from the Crossrail project in London which suggests companies that show an early interest in projects are more successful in winning contracts.

Construction is due to begin in 2017.

The Yorkshire companies range from big employers with more than 5,000 staff to small businesses with fewer than 10 employees.

They supply anything from office furniture to transport smart cards, archaeological expertise to seals and gaskets, said HS2 Ltd.

HS2 will be Europe’s biggest construction project, linking eight of Britain’s ten biggest cities.

It is claimed HS2 will support in excess of 100,000 jobs nationwide, although the scheme is not without opponents.

Simon Kirby, chief executive of HS2 Ltd, said: “Building HS2 is a massive, long-term project; one that offers huge opportunity for large and small companies right across the country.

“To construct it; and then bring it to life will require a vast range of skills and expertise, some of which we have and some we’ll need to develop.

“Put simply, HS2 is an unprecedented transport, investment and economic opportunity.

“And to deliver a project of HS2’s scale and complexity we are committed to working with companies who share our collaborative values.

“We are also determined to build on Crossrail’s success where 97 per cent of contracts were placed with UK-based firms.

“So, I am extremely pleased that so many firms have already shown an interest in helping to deliver HS2.

“I would encourage all firms large or small to get involved.”

The conferences will be held in London on October 17 and Manchester on October 23.

The Government gave the go ahead for a UK high-speed rail network in January 2012.

HS2 will be a Y-shaped rail network providing direct, high capacity, high-speed rail links between London and Birmingham and onto Manchester and Leeds.

The Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin is due to update on the second phase of the scheme this autumn.

Supporters have been calling for work to start sooner in the North of England.