THE recent indications that Phase 2B, the Eastern leg from Birmingham to Leeds, may be at best shelved or even cancelled, has brought out all the usual uninformed comments and off the cuff jibes about HS2 (The Yorkshire Post, August 2).
A counter argument so rarely hits the mainstream media or press.
So I believe these aspects need to be considered:
1. The overall budget of around £100bn is spread over at least 30 years.
2. This expense will predominantly be spent on employing multitudes of British companies and their employees.
Currently very large contracts are being undertaken by civil engineering conglomerates on the London to Birmingham leg.
Smaller multi-million contracts such as that to a Bolton company for access/ escape doors in tunnels are an example of keeping Northern companies involved.
3. The costs of these contracts will result in billions being paid in income tax and National Insurance back to HMRC benefitting the UK economy and public sector services.
4. The end product will be an efficient, quick and energy saving mode of transport that will negate the need for dirty fuel systems such as short haul aircraft journeys between London and the North notwithstanding crowded motorways.
5. HS2 will free up the existing North/South railways to give capacity for container trains which can each take around 50 juggernauts off our roads and offer more comprehensive local services to all towns and cities.
6. The ongoing maintenance of the infrastructure and trains will provide hi-tech employment in the UK for many years and revive the British train building industry.
The NIMBYs have made much of the destruction to our countryside. This has so far resulted in critical lengths of the railway out of London being tunnelled, hence the large increase in budget over the last 10 years.
Much the same was said in the 50s and 60s about the motorway building programme; what would we have done without that progressing?
The pandemic has thrown a massive spanner in the economy, but like Roosevelt in the 1930s, and Labour after the Second World War, governments need to bite the bullet and spend on infrastructure such as HS2 and East to West Northern railway links rather than pull back and offer decades of stagnation.
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