Business leaders in Birmingham have welcomed the Government's announcement of the second phase of HS2. The Government today confirmed its preferred route for phase two of the project, which will connect the West Midlands with Manchester and Leeds.  The first phase – which will run from London to Birmingham - is expected to gain Royal Ascent shortly. Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce chief executive Paul Faulkner said the northern part of the route is crucial to provide connectivity for all of the country’s major cities. 

He said: “While finalising the Birmingham to London route and securing Royal Assent remains hugely important, HS2 has always been about the bigger picture for businesses here in the West Midlands. “Realisation of a network connecting our major cities is how businesses will see the true benefits of HS2 in the future, and we are delighted that Birmingham will be at the heart of that network.” Transport Secretary Chris Grayling this morning confirmed the majority of the preferred route from Crewe to Manchester and Birmingham to Leeds. The first planned services from London to Birmingham are expected to commence in 2026, with services running to the northern cities from 2033. 

The Government also announced a new £900 million contract awarded for preparatory work for the West Midlands to London route. The HS2 project is expected to create 25,000 jobs during construction, as well as 2,000 apprenticeships.

Mr Faulkner added: “Creating better links with Leeds and Manchester will also lead to unparalleled supply chain opportunities and a windfall of jobs, all of which will strengthen our regional standing.  “Moreover, improving connectivity for our local businesses will help rebalance the national economy and unlock the latent potential of Birmingham and the wider region. With the ongoing economic uncertainty we are seeing home and abroad, it’s good to see the Government is strengthening business confidence post Brexit by committing to largescale infrastructure projects such as HS2.”