A report by KPMG, published today and based on extensive economic research, shows that Greater Manchester stands to benefit substantially from the High Speed 2 line which will run from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.
The report argues that the whole of Great Britain stands to benefit from the line, with City Regions on Phase 2 of the route, which will connect Birmingham with Manchester and Leeds, experiencing the biggest boost to their competitive position.
The line will benefit businesses in the regions, making them better connected to one another, their suppliers and their customers. Businesses will also become better connected to their labour markets, giving individuals the opportunity to access more jobs and companies the ability to draw on a wider and deeper pool of workers, according to the report.
The report claims that freeing up capacity will result in ‘widespread improvements to services on the classic network’, meaning that the line will benefit businesses and passengers throughout Great Britain regardless of whether they live or work near the route.
KPMG’s report has been welcomed by the Greater Manchester HS2 Leadership Group, an influential group of business leaders and public figures from Manchester, which supports the building of the line.
Clive Memmott, Chief Executive of Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said:
“HS2 is a pivotal project and will have a major impact in the North West, boosting our economic competitiveness. The findings of the report back up the Chamber of Commerce’s assertions that HS2 is essential to Greater Manchester’s business community in the future, because of the critical need for significantly greater capacity in our railway system for both passengers and freight.
“The future competitiveness of the City Region and country as a whole is dependent on long overdue, radical improvements to our infrastructure that will transform connectivity.”
Baroness Susan Williams, Campaign Director of North West Rail Campaign, said:
“The findings of this important report are very welcome. They show the enormous promise of HS2 to our region and the importance of the line in unlocking the huge potential of the North West as a place to live, work, study and do business.”
HS2 Ltd expect the benefits to Greater Manchester to increase further once plans for the use of released capacity on the WCML are developed.
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said:
"This report gives a welcome illustration of the enormous economic benefits which HS2 will bring. But, it significantly underestimates the scale of benefits for Greater Manchester not least because it is based on a former HS2 specification which did not include an extra station at Manchester Airport.
"It is fundamentally important to the future growth of Britain's economy as a whole, but will also enable major cities such as Manchester and their surrounding regions to compete for trade, investment and jobs on a global stage.
"By the 2020s, our already creaking rail and road networks will be in urgent need of extra capacity and doing nothing is not an option. If you accept the compelling need for a new network it makes no sense for it to be anything other than high speed.
"The noisy minority who are questioning the cost of HS2 are completely failing to recognise the cost of doing nothing. It's essential that these benefits are realised and this once in a century opportunity is seized."