Birmingham City chairman warns scrapping HS2 northern leg will damage trust

Tom Wagner, Birmingham City's chairman Credit: PA

Birmingham City chairman Tom Wagner has warned the UK Government of a loss of trust if HS2's northern leg is scrapped.

The American businessman has written a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to express his concerns over reports that the northern leg of the project, set to link Birmingham and Manchester, could be ditched.

Ten years in the planning the HS2 line was meant to better connect the north and south. But the cost of the project has soared from £37 billion to an estimated £100 billion. 

It’s because of this that the Government is potentially not on board anymore. The route to Leeds has already been scrapped.

The HS2 project is already expected to have cost the government more than £100 billion. Credit: HS2

Earlier this week, the prime minister wasn’t drawn on the future of the high-speed railway line but did insist he was committed to improving the lives of those in the Midlands.

This has caused worries for foreign investors, including those at the Blues.

Mr Wagner stated in his letter to the prime minister, that the expectation is that the Government will honour its commitment to deliver on its long-term plans.

He went on to say: “Any deviation could result in a loss of investor trust and this would have a considerable negative impact on the UK."

In the letter, Mr Wagner also outlined key reasons for Knighthead Capital Management's investment in Birmingham City football club.

Those were:

  • The Club's history, heritage, and the positive role that it plays in the community 

  • The city's dynamic, youthful, and diverse population 

  • Birmingham's long-term development vision 

  • And the city's location, at the heart of the country, and the exciting plans to improve connectivity with the rest of the UK through projects including HS2

The club’s owners believe that HS2 has the potential to transform the West Midlands and the other regions that are connected in the plan.

Mr Wagner finished his letter by saying he’d be delighted to meet and share his plans for Birmingham and its football club with the prime minister and eagerly awaits his response.

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