McLoughlin defends HS2

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin argued today that HS2 will provide a £15 billion boost to the UK economy annually. His comments came after the plans for the rail link were heavily criticised by the Public Accounts Committee.

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McLoughlin: HS2 'will lift the transport burden'

Patrick McLoughlin has said HS2 is the solution for the "clogged arteries of our transport system."

In a speech today the Transport Secretary said: "The reason we need HS2 isn't for its speed, though speed is an obvious benefit."

"HS2 will allow you to get from Birmingham to Leeds in 57 minutes.

"The main reason we need HS2 is the heart bypass for the clogged arteries of our transport system.

"It will lift the burden from our overcrowded system."

McLoughlin: Midlands council leaders support HS2

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said in a speech at the Institute of Civil Engineers that council leaders in Birmingham and Nottingham support HS2.

Speaking today he said: "In Britain we try to patch up what we've already got, we haven't built a new train line north of London for at least 120 years.

"But there is a point when patching up is not enough, you just don't get the capacity.

"We're reaching that point on the links between the cities and into them, which is why HS2 is part, and I stress, just part, on the investment we need to make.

"The sort of investment which has wide political backing from city council leaders in places like Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Nottingham."


Campaign group: 'HS2 unnecessary waste of money'

A spokesman for HS2 Action Alliance said that the Government's "need for a political legacy" has overcome the need for an improvement of existing rail services. Richard Houghton said:

Much has been made of the potential disruptions of upgrades to the WCML but of course the major upgrades have been done and the required developments to release capacity would be tiny in comparison.

Indeed the disruption in converting a First Class carriage to a standard one, or from train lengthening is nothing compared to rebuilding Euston and having several platforms out of use for eight years that HS2 requires.

But this pragmatic unsexy approach doesn't fit with the need for a political legacy that is so clear in the Government's increasingly strident defence of this white elephant.

Transport Secretary: HS2 not some 'untested fantasy'


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HS2 the 'bypass' for Britain's 'clogged' transport system

Britain's transport system will become "clogged" without HS2 and suffer under swelling passenger numbers, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin will say in a speech later today.

The reason we need HS2 isn't for its speed, though speed is obviously a benefit. HS2 will allow you to get from Birmingham to Leeds in 57 minutes and from Manchester to London in 68.

The benefits of faster journeys are easy to explain. But speed is not the main reason for building the new railway.

The main reason we need HS2 is as a heart bypass for the clogged arteries of our transport system

– Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin

Birmingham chamber welcomes HS2 research

Jerry Blackett, chief executive of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce has called the KPMG research on HS2 a "ringing endorsement".

He said it will "deliver greater economic benefits to the West Midlands than other UK region".

"Critics may say that the report is bound to be favourable because it was commissioned by HS2 Ltd," Mr Blackett said.

"But KMPG's work is independent from a firm of highly respected accountants whose results cannot be swayed."

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