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HS2 roadshows kick off

The first of a series of regional roadshows is set to highlight the economic impact of HS2. The HS2 Growth Taskforce is meeting local leaders in Birmingham today to discuss how to maximise growth and employment opportunities from the route.

New research suggests HS2 will deliver 50,000 jobs to the West Midlands, with £4bn growth in the region’s economic output.

Commercial secretary to the Treasury and chair of the HS2 Growth Taskforce Lord Deighton said: “With Birmingham firmly at the heart of the new HS2 network it is a great place to start our roadshows and consider the transformational effect HS2 could have on the city and West Midlands. Redevelopment at Curzon Street as a result of the new station would see the area become a vibrant hub with the potential for retail, leisure and other industries to maximise this opportunity.

“HS2 is not just a project for London or the station cities and the Growth Taskforce is determined to see the benefits stretch far and wide across the country. That is why getting out and meeting with our city and business leaders is so vital and will go a long way to informing our final report to the Government.”

Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “This is about connecting our regions and providing fast, direct links delivering jobs and economic growth. This is a tremendous opportunity for our region to build the transport network we need and secure more than 50,000 jobs.”

Geoff Inskip, chief executive of regional transport authority Centro, said: “We’ve always said HS2 is about driving the West Midlands economy and this research proves the point.

“We’re right at the heart of the network and our challenge is to make the most of HS2 and deliver these jobs and benefits using capacity released on our existing lines and developing new rapid transit links to our high speed stations.”

Jerry Blackett, CEO of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, added: “HS2 has the potential to transform the region economically. In the short-term, the stimulus created by its construction will be an enormous boost. In the longer-term, the region becomes a much more viable prospect for potential investment, and we could see a massive benefit from migration further north.

“The project also tackles a potential capacity crisis in the coming decades, which, if left alone, could have a debilitating effect on the business community.”

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