UK/Suffolk: County has “nothing to gain” from HS2 rail plan, campaign group claims

An artist's impression of an HS2 train. An artist's impression of an HS2 train.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
8:03 PM

Suffolk’s economy has absolutely nothing to gain from the Government’s HS2 rail plan, an opposition group has claimed.

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The HS2 Action Alliance says the county would be one of the biggest losers from the project as businesses will choose to invest nearer the new High-Speed Two line between London, Birmingham and Crewe.

The group’s warning has followed on from a report from KPMG which predicted Suffolk would be one of 50 areas in the UK to lose out if it its built.

KPMG estimates Suffolk’s output would fall by more than £77million every year as a result of the line.

A Government report has already shown Ipswich may lose some of its direct train services to London to help save billions of pounds towards the cost of the project.

Local campaigns director for the HS2 Action Alliance, Peter Chegwyn, said: “The KPMG Report shows that Britain will have a two-tier economy if HS2 is built with areas close to the line gaining and many other areas losing out.

“KPMG admitted its report clearly shows the benefits of HS2 for some regions and the negative impacts it might have on others.

“Ipswich and Suffolk have nothing to gain from HS2 but everything to lose including local jobs and economic output.”

The campaigners are now planning to write to MPs and council leaders across Suffolk appealing for them to oppose HS2 on the grounds that it will harm the county’s economy and potentially put at risk jobs and business investment.

Despite the fears of the campaign group, KPMG and transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin have already both claimed the report concentrated “solely” on HS2.

Mr McLoughlin admitted the areas where there were stations would “get more benefit” than where there is not a station, but went on to say the government was looking at transport “across the whole piece”.

Ben Ruse, HS2 lead spokesman said: “The Higgins Report (into HS2) talks about the importance of HS2 being integrated into the UK transport network to maximise the benefits of HS2 across the country.

“The Government has made it clear that they are spending three times as much on rail, roads and local transport than on HS2 - £56bn on rail, roads and local transport compared to around £16bn on HS2.”

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