As the time draws closer for HS2 construction to commence, I am keeping a close eye on developments. Despite the inevitable disruption that projects like these bring, this multi-billion pound infrastructure investment is an exciting prospect for our region and I am hopeful that businesses in my constituency are already lining up to take full advantage of the opportunities associated with HS2.
Last month a number of local businesses attended a ‘Meet the Contractor Day’ held by HS2 Ltd. in Birmingham where local firms met with HS2’s direct contractors to discuss a host of supply chain opportunities that are up for grabs as part of the £7.5billion worth of contracts that have been awarded to deliver Phase One of the high speed rail network.
The sheer size of the HS2 project means that there will be thousands of opportunities, over a number of years, within the HS2 supply chain. As well as the obvious economic benefits of HS2, the project will also offer a number of training and development opportunities. Later in the summer, HS2 will launch its Skills Strategy setting out how it will upskill a new generation of engineers and specialists in high speed rail. The West Midlands region, (and Meriden in particular), with our highly skilled population and innovative local business network, is well placed to reap the benefits of this project.
HS2 offers important opportunities both for the country and for us locally that will generate thousands of new jobs over the life of the project and beyond. One outcome, for example, is that having the new rail line will make more track time available for freight trains, reducing pollution and pressure on the roads.
I am determined that the benefits are felt across the region, by local firms and local people. Meriden businesses have already made a good start, but there are certainly more opportunities available; if you would like to learn more about the potential for your business to contribute to HS2, I would encourage you to visit the HS2 website: HS2.org.uk/supply-chain
Dame Caroline Spelman MP