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HS2 skill summit ‘leaving no stone unturned’

The consultation on the proposed route for Phase 2 of the HS2 project has launched today, covering the route from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin called for businesses to maximise the economic benefits of HS2 through job creation and skills development, as a special skills summit held at Manchester Metropolitan University’s school of engineering.

Over 2,000 apprentices could be employed in construction related jobs on HS2, with opportunities on rolling stock manufacture as well as non-construction roles.

The Government also confirmed the introduction of an Exceptional Hardship Scheme for homeowners on the second half of the route.

McLoughlin said: “HS2 provides a once in a generation opportunity to drive growth, generate jobs, develop skills and secure our country's future prosperity. We need to squeeze every possible benefit from this vital project, leaving no stone unturned.

“This summit of the biggest cities outside of London is vital to ramp up plans to ensure we make the best use of UK skills and workers in building the high speed rail network.

“From 2017, HS2 will create 19,000 engineering and construction jobs. For Crossrail, 97% of the contracts have been won by British-based companies and we will do everything possible so that industry, people and businesses – particularly in the great cities of the North and Midlands – are well placed to take advantage of the tremendous opportunity the new railway presents.”

Commercial secretary, Lord Deighton said: “High Speed 2 is of vital importance to this country’s growth and it is crucial we act now to provide the infrastructure the UK needs to compete in the global race.”

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council and chair of Core Cities Cabinet said: “We've said all along that HS2 is not just a transport project, it's an economic growth project. The extra capacity HS2 brings is far more important than the speed and this capacity will be a real engine of growth for the country, bringing our major cities closer to each other, and to mainland Europe. It will create jobs, boost productivity and help the nation compete globally.”

Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council and Transport Portfolio Holder for Core Cities Cabinet, called HS2 a “once in a generation opportunity” and added: “This isn’t just about more money, it’s about integrating transport spending and policy within a city region so that it always works in a coherent and joined up fashion. This will in turn create further jobs and growth.”

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