IN response to today’s news that a new transport body could be created to develop a high speed rail strategy for the North, NECC Policy and Research Manager, Mark Stephenson, said:

“The Northern chambers are united in support of high speed rail. Even though our region is not part of the current proposals, the impact HS2 will have on our members and the ensuing economic uplift this will generate in the North of England will be significant. We welcome any efforts to speed up delivery.

“A new body for the North is something that would not only give us a voice at the decision making table, but also a better platform to make the case that a high speed rail link to Scotland must come through the North East.

“The last significant investment in the UK rail network was over 100 years ago. Future business success depends on infrastructure networks that meet demand. Rail is no exception. The UK rail network must have the capacity to meet rocketing business demand – for long-distance services, for commuter rail services, and for the transport of freight.

“The channel tunnel, HS1 and countless other rail schemes all stand as monuments against those that said they were too expensive and too difficult: they have delivered and continue to deliver for UK Plc.”

HS2 could create 22,000 construction related jobs in the next five years, potentially rising to 50,000 by the late 2020s and how the Core Cities group predicts that HS2 will create 400,000 jobs and deliver local economic output productivity gains of £15bn per year by 2037.