Unprecedented plan to maximise benefits of HS2 unveiled
- Approach outlines how to maximise the benefits of HS2 for the Midlands region
- Full scale of ambition revealed for the first time including job creation and £14bn additional economic output
The unprecedented opportunities that the arrival of High Speed Two (HS2) will bring to the West Midlands region were unveiled today (Thursday 23 July).
The Midlands Growth Strategy, developed by the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), outlines how developing skills and access to training, ensuring supply chains are prepared and improving the connectivity of the region, will put the Midlands at the heart of the UK’s economic future.
It describes how the region can use HS2 as a catalyst for major job creation, increased productivity and net national growth.
As well as regeneration and connectivity improvements for the areas surrounding the two HS2 stations at Birmingham Curzon and UK Central Interchange in Solihull, the strategy identifies practical plans to unlock additional projects as a result of HS2.
According to the strategy, the scale of the ambition includes 104,000 new and safeguarded jobs, 10% of which will be created for local, unemployed residents.
Overall, the plan will see the region delivering an additional £14bn to the UK economy (gross value added).
The plan focuses on ensuring the region’s people, businesses and places are ready to maximise the opportunities afforded by the arrival of the biggest infrastructure project in Britain for decades.
One of the first tangible examples of the benefits of HS2 is the National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR), with one of the two campuses being located in Birmingham city centre’s Innovation Birmingham Campus (the other being in Doncaster). Fifty per cent of learners at the College will be studying for a Higher Apprenticeship.
The College is due to be incorporated at the end of this month (July) and is expected to be open by 2017. As well as up-skilling the existing workforce, it will prepare school leavers and career changers for jobs in high speed rail and the wider rail industry, providing future generations with the skills needed to build HS2 and other future infrastructure projects.
In addition to the qualifications delivered by the College, the Growth Strategy predicts that up to 36% of the local population will be qualified to NVQ Level 4+, with 2,000 apprenticeships anticipated.
Andy Street, Chair, Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership
“The arrival of HS2 in the Midlands is a once-in-a generation opportunity to do something really special. It’s not enough to simply lay tracks and build stations; we must take this chance to create a legacy for the region in terms of regeneration, jobs, skills, economic development and connectivity. This is already a hugely powerful regional economy but we can use the benefits of HS2 to play an even greater role in powering Britain.”
Andrew Cleaves, Board Director for Improving Connectivity, Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership
“HS2 will be a catalyst for growth and a game-changer for the region. With such a young population in the Midlands, and in Greater Birmingham in particular, skills development and apprenticeship opportunities leading in to high-value jobs are vital. So too is having a modern, fit-for-purpose transport network that will enable our people to access the economic opportunities that HS2 will create. Our Strategy will deliver on both of these agendas and, by working together across the public and private sectors, we can drive growth on an unprecedented scale and transform the lives of thousands of people.”
Sir Albert Bore, Leader, Birmingham City Council
“HS2 gives us a superb opportunity to secure first-class connectivity across the whole of the Midlands and that will create an economic powerhouse without equal in the UK regions. But to make these ambitious plans a reality, we must secure regional and national commitments so honest engagement and partnership working will be critical.”
Councillor Ian Courts, Cabinet Portfolio Member for Managed Growth, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
“UK Central, which encompasses Solihull and its surrounding areas, is a major driver within the West Midlands economy and offers a unique combination of opportunity, connectivity and lifestyle to inward investors. As the location for the first high speed rail interchange, UK Central will reap tremendous benefits from HS2, through the creation of a vibrant new live, work, innovate and play destination – ‘The Hub’ – which interweaves business, leisure and brand new communities around UK Central’s outstanding transport connectivity.”
Sir David Higgins, HS2 Ltd Chairman
“The lasting impact and legacy of HS2 will be determined by how successfully local authorities and regions use it as a catalyst to transform their economies and develop the look and feel of the areas it touches. The Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy is therefore hugely important for Birmingham and the Midlands, as it sets out a clear approach to maximising the opportunity to drive economic growth and provide real benefits to local people through access to jobs and skills. I welcome the Midlands partnership approach to developing this strategy and the key to its success will be to continue this partnership, as HS2 moves forward towards construction.”
Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary
“It is absolutely fantastic to see people in the Midlands gearing up to take full advantage of HS2 and the jobs, skills and growth it will bring. Birmingham and Solihull will be at the heart of HS2 network. This strategy illustrates how HS2 can re-balance our country’s economy and why it is such a vital part of our long-term economic plan. The government is already working with partners in the Midlands, considering the plans in detail and how they can be turned into action. I look forward to seeing other regions across the country put forward their plans too.”
The Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy will be available from 00:01 on Thursday 23 July at www.centreofenterprise.com/hs2-growth-strategy
Claire Barker, Communications Manager, Marketing Birmingham, 0121 202 5055, firstname.lastname@example.org
Marketing Birmingham, the city’s strategic marketing partnership, operates the city’s leisure and business tourism programme, Visit and Meet Birmingham as well as its inward investment programme, Business Birmingham. The company is funded by the public and private sectors, including Birmingham City Council, European Regional Development Funding and some 400 local companies.