100 business leaders urge Prime Minister to build HS2 in full

Northern leaders want the eastern leg of HS2 built in full.Northern leaders want the eastern leg of HS2 built in full.
Northern leaders want the eastern leg of HS2 built in full.
More than 100 business leaders from across the North and Midlands have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him to commit to building HS2 in full.

They fear that despite the PM promising the full delivery of HS2 last February, there have recently been rumours that the Eastern Leg will be scrapped.

They say it would leave his flagship levelling up ambition in tatters.

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The letter states it would be a ‘massive missed opportunity to create hundreds of thousands of jobs, attract major investment and stimulate huge economic growth to create a more balanced, fairer economy’.

Business leaders spoke out after the National Infrastructure Commission published the ‘Rail Needs Assessment’ which said the focus of investment should be on linking cities in the North and Midlands first.

It was fed into the Integrated Rail Plan, which set to be published this month.

The government has said it will outline how projects, including HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, can work together to deliver ‘reliable train services that passengers need and deserve, as quickly as possible.’

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But campaigners fear the eastern leg - through the Midlands and Yorkshire to Leeds - will be kicked into the long grass and eventually die due to other pressures on government funding.

The letter adds: ‘These transformational regeneration and growth opportunities do not come along very often. Major investment in infrastructure, which the North and Midlands have not seen since the Victorian era but has been delivered in London and the South East, would be the catalyst for a North as prosperous as London; the Midlands rivalling the South East for productivity and job creation.

‘It is not just those towns and cities on the route. HS2 and NPR are essential to increase capacity and create better rail connections in places like the Humber, Teesside, Lincolnshire and the North East’.

It ends: ‘The Integrated Rail Plan is your chance to move on from Covid. Levelling up parts of the country that have seen traditional and considerable underinvestment, and that would benefit from a plan for growth.

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‘Businesses in the North and the Midlands stand ready to capitalise on the opportunities an integrated high speed network would provide and help rebuild the economy. This decision is vital to the future of this country, and it rests with you now.’

The signatories:

Steve Murrells, CEO, Co-op

Heidi Mottram, CEO, Northumbrian Water Group

Mark Reynolds, Group Chief Executive, Mace

Gurminder Sanghera, Regional Director, AHR Global

Ben Andrews, Managing Director and UK Head of Leveraged Finance, HSBC

Ian Morgan, Deputy Chairman, Wellglade Group

Mark Cowlard, CEO, Arcadis UK

Sandy Needham, CEO, West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce

Chris Oglesby, CEO, Bruntwood

Anna Sutton, CEO and Co-Founder, The Data Shed

Will Gardiner, CEO, Drax

John Heaps, Chairman, YBS

Juergen Maier, Vice-Chair, Northern Powerhouse Partnership

Anil Chima, Director, AAA

Charlie Cornish, CEO, Manchester Airports Group

Edwin Booth, Chairman, Booths

Lynda Shillaw, CEO, Harworth Group

John Joyce, Managing Partner, Addleshaw Goddard LLP

Mandy Ridyard, Financial Director, Produmax

Justin Kelly, Director of Corporate Communications, Siemens

Naveen Ahmed, Managing Director, Parklane Group

Rob Doody, Managing Director Central Region, Tarmac - a CRH Company

Angela Foulkes, Chief Executive & Principal, The Sheffield College

Stuart Cottee, Practice Senior Partner Yorkshire and the North East, Deloitte LLP

Scott Knowles, Chief Executive, East Midlands Chamber

Zandra Moore, CEO, Pan Intelligence

Vicky Wainwright, Managing Director, Naylor Wintersgill

James Ramsbotham, Chief Executive, North East Chamber of Commerce

Kate Jeeves and Robin Hawkes, Joint Chief Executives, Leeds Playhouse

Kevin Bell, Partner, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Simon Bird, Humber Ports Director, Associated British Ports

Susan Allan, Group Finance Director, Willerby Group Limited

Paul Faulkner, Chief Executive, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce

Andrew Cooper, Chief Executive, Leeds BID

Chris Thompson, CEO/Founder, Citu

David Aspin, Owner, Munroe K

Ian Layford, Investment Director, Domus UK Ltd

Jonathan Morgan, President, Morgans City Living

Jonny Noble, Manager, Bradford BID

Corin Crane, Chief Executive, Black Country Chamber of Commerce

Keith Madeley, CEO, Yorkshire Society

Mark Cowgill, Director and Co-Founder, Exa Networks

Mark Finch, Director, Rushbond

Mike Briffett, Project Director, Leeds Building Society

Richard Paxman, Chief Executive Officer, Paxman

Stuart Clarke, Festival Director, Leeds Digital Festival

Bill Walker, Chair, Marketing Humber

Chris Long, CEO, Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Chris Zanetti, Director, Chris Zanetti Ltd

David Talbot, Chief Executive Officer, CATCH UK

Dr David Richards, Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of Hull

John Cauchi, Strategic Development Director, Bilfinger UK Limited

Mark Pearson-Kendall, Managing Partner, Andrew Jackson Solicitors LLP

Max Hodgson, Chairman, Hodgson Sealants (Holdings) Ltd

Tim Rix CBE, Group Chief Executive, J R Rix & Sons Ltd

David Williams, Chairman, Geldards LLP

Ian Greenaway, Managing Director, MTM Products (I.S.P.P.) Limited

Paul Robinson, Director and General Manager, Nottingham Trams Ltd

Michael Currell, Managing Director, Ba Plastics Limited

Thomas Bailey, Co-founder and CTO, Life Ninja

Ian Welch, Co-founder and COO, Callsign

Henri Murison, Director, Northern Powerhouse Partnership

Amir Hussain, CEO, Yeme Architects

Andrew McFarlane, Head of the Regions, Colliers International

Andy Storer, CEO, Nuclear AMRC

Mark Horsley, CEO, Northern Gas Networks

Michael Dong, CEO, Investar Property Group

Roger Scarlett-Smith, President UK, Thornton & Ross

Steve Beharall, Head of Newcastle United Foundation

Tom Rumboll, CEO, Synetiq Ltd

Alexis Krachai, Managing Director, Counter Context

Arnie Singh, Managing Director, Northern Taxis Limited

Ash Young, Managing Director, Evoluted

Dale Robinson, Director of Business Development, Meadowhall Training Education

Dan Broadbent, Managing Director, Objective Creative

Matt Jackson, President, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce

Neil Hennessey, Operations Director, UC Build

Paul Fletcher, Managing Director, CC33 FS Limited

Philip Webb, Chief Executive Officer, Investors in Community Limited

Professor Sir Chris Husbands, Vice-Chancellor, Sheffield Hallam University

Ryan Connolly, Client Services Director, Highlander UK

Sam Leeder, Director, Actus Insurance

Scott Burkinshaw, Partner, Shorts Chartered Accountants

Stephen Edwards, Executive Director, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive

Steve Baker, Managing Director, Arden Winch

Tim Hale, Chairman, Champion Hire Limited

Andrew Batterton, Partner, DLA Piper

Andrew Digwood, Partner, Rollits LLP

Ben Pilgrim, Director, Royal Pilgrim Communications

Derek Gow, Commercial Director, Ainscough Crane Hire

Pino De Rosa, Managing Director, Bridgeway Consulting

Jason Thorpe, Managing Director, Hucknall Sheet Metal Engineering Ltd

Paul Warren, Sales Director, KeTech Systems Ltd

Greg Hodge, New Business Development Manager, Premier Group Manufacturing

Charles Conroy, Managing Director, The Greenbank Group UK

James Taylor, Commercial Director, Transport Design International LTD

Paul Capener, Commercial Director, Xeiad

Chris Ing, Director, Ing Consulting

Clare Fitzpatrick, Head of Business Engagement, Keighley College

Clive Brook, Director, Clive Brook Planning

David Spicer, Director of Business Engagement, University of Bradford

Gerald Jennings, Director, GR Jennings Properties Ltd

Ian Ward, General Manager, The Broadway

Laurence Beardmore, Director, York Emporium

Malcolm Le May, CEO, Provident Financial plc

Mark Granger, Group Board Director, Pavers

Richard Osbond, Director, Curtins

Stephen Peacock, Executive Coach, Arafen Business & Personal Coaching

Steve Goodwill, Director, Goodwill Training

Steve McManus, Managing Director, Chartback Ltd

Suzanne Watson, Managing Director, Approach PR

Tim Waring, Director, Quod

Trevor Higgins, CEO, Bradford Breakthrough

Elaine Clark, Chief Executive, Rail Forum Midlands

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We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.