Metro Chairman responds to the findings of a recent Yorkshire Post business survey on HS2
Responding to a report in the Yorkshire Post that small and medium-sized businesses in Yorkshire which had taken part in a recent survey had rejected the Government’s arguments for HS2, Metro Chairman Cllr James Lewis said,
“This finding is at odds to the reaction we received from delegates at a ‘Yorkshire Mafia’ Business Conference in 2012. At that event, 96% of delegates responding to a Metro questionnaire said they believed high-speed rail ‘will benefit business in Yorkshire’.
“Over 150 of the Conference delegates who visited Metro’s HS2 stand completed the questionnaire. More than 80% of those respondents said they thought the cost of HS2 was justified and 94% believed High-Speed Rail would be good for Yorkshire.
“Both Metro and the Yorkshire Post’s surveys were taken by similar numbers of people who were self-selecting participants although I think a large number of the Yorkshire Mafia event delegates were likely to be from larger organisations.
Highly rated benefits
“Among the benefits they rated highest were easing overcrowding on existing and local rail networks, the local economic benefits and jobs the project was forecast to deliver and the faster journeys between London and Leeds.
“Speeding the project up by building from the North and maximising opportunities for local firms to be HS2 suppliers and Government investment in the City Region’s transport network to ensure it is ‘HS2-ready’, are among the City Region’s main requirements set out in its response to the Government’s HS2 Phase 2 consultation.
“HS2 Ltd and the Government need to address these issues and help people understand the scheme’s benefits by giving real, understandable examples.
Need for discussion
“They need to talk about the jobs and training opportunities that will be created, the improvements to local and regional rail services and the huge regeneration potential of a new station as has been seen in the Kings Cross area of London.
“And at the same time, they must ensure local concerns about the route of HS2 are addressed, that compensation arrangements realistically reflect the effects on local individuals and communities and that, like HS1, the project is brought in on time and on budget.”