East Anglia: Region’s firms urged to bid for HS2 contracts

An artist's impression of an HS2 train.

An artist's impression of an HS2 train. - Credit: Archant

Construction of the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail link could help to secure hundreds of jobs in East Anglia, the promoters of the scheme have claimed.

Businesses of all sizes from across the country are being urged to attend HS2 Supply Chain Conference events in London and Manchester next month to hear about how to bid for more than £10billion-worth of contracts.

A total of 15 East Anglian companies have already signed up, ranging in size from fewer than 10 employes to nearly 500.

HS2 chief executive Simon Kirby said: “Building HS2 is a massive long-term project, one that offers huge opportunity for large and small companies right across the country.

“To construct it, and then bring it to life, will require a vast range of skills and expertise, some of which we have and some we’ll need to develop. Put simply, HS2 is a huge transport, investment and economic opportunity.”

He added: “I am extremely pleased that so many firms have already shown an interest in helping to deliver HS2. I would encourage all firms large or small to get involved.”

HS2 (High Speed 1 being the line from London to the Channel Tunnel)involves new tracks from London to Birmingham, with separate onward routes to Manchester and Leeds.

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Earlier this year, a report from KPGM predicted that Suffolk would be one of 50 areas in the UK to lose out as a result of HS2, predicting that the county’s output would fall by more than £77million a year if the project went ahead.

The HS2 Action Alliance, which opposes construction of the line, said the report showed that the county would be one of the biggest losers from HS2 as businesses would choose to invest nearer the new route.

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

A Government report has also suggested that Ipswich may lose some of its direct train services to London to help save money towards the cost of the HS2 project.

However, advocates of the new line argue that it is the best way to provide much-needed additional capacity and that travellers from other regions, including in East Anglia, will benefit from the easing of pressure on existing routes such as the East Coast Main Line.

HS2 and the Government have also defended the £16bn cost of the project, on the basis that the UK economy as a whole will benefit and that more than three times as much ? £56bn ? is to be spent on other rail, road and local transport schemes.

The supply chain conferences will be held in London on October 17 and in Manchester on October 22. For information, email SCC@hs2.org.uk .