The North and Midlands ‘must take control’ to deliver true benefits of HS2 and NPR, says review
A report by the Northern Powerhouse Independent Review into HS2 says the North and Midlands must take control of their high-speed network and that cancelling the major infrastructure project without credible and viable alternatives will not deliver the transformational benefits to the UK economy this country so badly needs.
Established to inform the Government-commissioned Oakervee review of HS2, which will report to the Department for Transport on the future of HS2 later this week, the Northern Powerhouse Independent Review:
The Northern Powerhouse Independent Review is calling for the establishment of HS2 North; a special purpose vehicle (SPV) on the model of the Olympic Delivery Authority. This would make it arms-length from government, with private sector delivery partners and Network Rail, overseen by Transport for the North to ensure HS2, NPR and related upgrades are combined efficiently and with maximum value. As a first step this new delivery body must pull together the comprehensive benefits to all the city regions and towns of the North, which the existing analysis which the Oakervee Review is based on misses out, along with the way of estimating the benefits ignoring economic rebalancing being possible or having any value to the country.
In addition, the true scale of benefits to parts of the North are revealed:
Chris Oglesby, CEO of Bruntwood and member of the Northern Powerhouse Independent Review into HS2 said:
“Our report highlights that there are a number of significant benefits of HS2 that have been ignored to date in its viability analysis. HS2 will be transformational in equipping the North to thrive in the 4th Industrial Revolution. It delivers massive economic benefits by increasing capacity and speed both between our cities and into them on both new and existing lines. This, in turn, wlll increase access the labour markets for high growth industries and drive productivity; as much in enabling new jobs as improving existing ones. It will drive regeneration in our cities and towns around the stations and beyond, whilst the stations themselves will also be economic engines in their own right.
“Our review panel proposes that the North and Midlands must take control of the nation’s high-speed network. HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail – a major priority of Boris Johnson and his government – are completely interlinked and a joined up approach is required to both and the upgrades to existing lines. Only by delivering an integrated high-speed network right across the North can a Northern Powerhouse vision be truly realised. Further delays and uncertainty are hugely damaging to North and the country as a whole.”
Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Lead, said:
“HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, integrated and with a new Bradford city centre stop, are vital to address the poor transport links between cities in the North and Midlands which have acted as a significant break on our economies. In my own region, this investment will deliver 50,000 additional jobs as well as an annual £600m boost to the UK economy from better connections between Leeds and Birmingham.
“There is not a binary choice between having a long-term investment programme for the existing rail network and the delivery of new infrastructure. Both are required if we are to have the modern reliable rail network the UK needs.”
Sir Howard Bernstein, former Chief Executive of Manchester City Council and member of the Northern Powerhouse Independent Panel Review into HS2 said:
“Northern bodies and elected leaders have called for greater devolution of oversight over their rail networks - as part of our bold new view of structures, further discussions will need to take place between civic leaders and central government on democratic structures to ensure accountability.
“The North deserves better and will continue to campaign to ensure we secure a proper share of national resources and meet our ambitions so that we achieve our full economic potential.”
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor, Liverpool City Region, said:
“This independent review of the evidence for HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail demonstrates once again its vital importance for boosting not just the economy of Liverpool City Region and the North, but the whole of the UK.
“Not only must the Government invest in both, but I am calling along with other Northern political and business leaders for spades in the ground in the North at the same time as in the South. This would save a huge amount in construction costs and bring the jobs and economic boost to the North years earlier than would otherwise be the case.”
Henri Murison, Director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership said:
“To truly rebalance Britain, by building the Northern Powerhouse, we need substantially increased capacity on our rail network. The benefits of Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2 together are greater than either scheme alone and cancellation of either east and/or western leg without a proven and credible alternative could leave us with no way to secure the economic competitiveness we need, which alongside productivity gains, is a pre-requisite of rebalancing the British economy.”
The Northern Powerhouse Independent Review is based on an extensive review of the economic evidence, published alongside economic analysis by Steer Economic Development.
The review has been overseen by a panel of respected leaders, including Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council, Kevin Hollinrake MP, the Co-Chair of the Northern Powerhouse All Party Parliamentary Group, Chris Oglesby, CEO of Bruntwood, Paula Dillon, a respected Yorkshire business person with expertise running a global legal business and Howard Bernstein, former Chief Executive of Manchester City Council.
For media enquiries or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Head of PR
Northern Powerhouse Partnership
M. 07885 489003