More than 120 business leaders from across the Midlands and North have signed a letter urging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to build HS2.
The letter warns the Prime Minister: “The potential to redraw the economic performance of the whole country is in your hands.
“We urge you not to squander this golden opportunity to create a fairer, balanced UK economy that works for everyone.”
It comes as a new report published by parliamentary finances watchdog the National Audit Office warned that failure to make a decision about HS2 could delay construction further.
Business leaders across the country have joined forces to sign the letter and urge the Government to back HS2 which will connect London and Birmingham (phase one) and then onto the North West, East Midlands and Yorkshire (phase two).
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Among those to sign it are Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow and Paul Thandi, chief executive of the NEC Group in Solihull which will be near to one of the stops on phase one of the route.
Also lending their name to the letter are the chief executives of Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds-Bradford airports, Newcastle-based Virgin Money and senior managers at companies such as Siemens, Colliers International, Yorkshire Building Society and Hitachi Rail.
It was also signed by the chief executives or presidents of chambers of commerce in the West and East Midlands, North West, Yorkshire and the North East alongside vice-chancellors and chief executives of firms across the North and Midlands.
The letter reflects concern that the continuing negative publicity about HS2, based largely on selective leaking of sections of the forthcoming Douglas Oakervee review, is threatening planned investment that is expected to create thousands of jobs.
The letter added: “We as business leaders urge you to make one of your first major policy commitments – to deliver HS2 all the way, in full as it recommends, to the Midlands and the North of England.
“HS2 will provide urgently needed capacity on the rail network, open up new labour markets and integrate with two other major projects to improve connectivity – Midlands Engine Rail and Northern Powerhouse Rail, creating a network that is fit for the 21st century and unlocking major growth in the regional economy.
“It will create more than 500,000 jobs. The plans for both of these schemes are fully integrated with HS2 and will transform commuting and leisure travel throughout the UK.”
Separately, the chairs of local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) across the North of England and the Midlands have also written to the Prime Minister.
They said: “As chairs of 19 of the local enterprise partnerships in the Midlands and in the North, we have been working hard with partners across the private, public and academic sectors to support our local economies to grow.
“Whilst we have achieved much, the potential for further economic growth, productivity gains and improvements in standards of living is considerable.
“HS2 would unleash this potential; transforming towns, cities and communities. We therefore urge you to commit to the full HS2 network without further delay.”
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