HS2, the high-speed rail project formally starts on Friday and it is expected around 22,000 jobs will be created over the next few years.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has claimed HS2 is being built to last “150-years,” whilst Prime Minister Boris Johnson said HS2 would “fire up economic growth and help to rebalance opportunity.”
HS2 will link London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, and the 20-year project will reduce overcrowding for commuters and rebalance the UKs economy.
Johnson said, “HS2 is at the heart of our plans to build back better – and with construction now formally under way, it’s set to create around 22,000 new jobs.
“As the spine of our country’s transport network, the project will be vital in boosting connectivity between our towns and cities.”
HS2 Ltd chief executive Mark Thurston said, “This is a hugely exciting moment in the progress of HS2. After 10 years of development and preparatory work, today we can formally announce the start of full construction, unlocking thousands of jobs and supply chain opportunities across the project.
“We are already seeing the benefits that building HS2 is bringing to the UK economy in the short term, but it’s important to emphasise how transformative the railway will be for our country when operational.
“With the start of construction, the reality of high-speed journeys joining up Britain’s biggest cities in the North and Midlands and using that connectivity to help level up the country has just moved a step closer.”
Speaking to the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the Transport Secretary said, “We’re not building this for what happens over the next couple of years or even the next 10-years.
“We’re building this – as with the west coast and east coast mainlines – for 150 years and still going strong.
“So I think the idea that – unless we work out a way of teletransporting people – that we won’t want a system to get people around the country… is wrong.”