Launch of Independent Report into High-Speed 2

17 October 2019

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership’s Independent report into High-Speed 2 (HS2) was launched in Parliament at the Northern Powerhouse APPG meeting by Co- Chairs Kevin Hollinrake MP and John Stevenson MP. Along with cross-party support from Rachael Maskell MP, Angela Smith MP and John Grogan MP.

Kevin Hollinrake and John Stevenson made the case to MPs as to why the North must take control of Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) and made powerful interventions on why government must deliver HS2 in full to secure the future economic prosperity of the North. 

The report is the outcome of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership’s review into HS2 which was overseen by a panel of respected leaders and experts including Kevin Hollinrake MP, Chris Oglesby, Chief Executive Bruntwood,  Councillor Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council, Paula Dillon, a respected Yorkshire businesswoman and former Chief Executive of Manchester City Council, Howard Bernstein. 

The report written with politicians, businesses people and experts has scrutinised the case for HS2 along with Northern Powerhouse Rail and examined how they could transform the Northern Powerhouse by generating economic growth and furthering skilled job opportunities for people across the North. 

The Northern Powerhouse Independent Review:

  • Recommends the establishment of HS2 North – a special purpose vehicle working with the private sector to integrate HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) 

  • Articulates a 20% increase in the transformational economic impact to the North of delivering NPR along with building HS2, with £1 in every £5 generated from building a new East – West line as a result of long-distance journeys onto HS2

  • Warns that only by investing in a new, integrated high-speed network can the historic North-South divide be tackled; upgrades or scrapping HS2 have none of the prerequisites to tackle the UKs geographic imbalance

  • Identifies parts of the new and upgraded line network that can be delivered now including connecting Northern cities to each other – the North will not accept waiting until 2040 for HS2 to connect Northern cities to Birmingham, London, Newcastle and Edinburgh

The Review is calling for the establishment of HS2 North; a special purpose vehicle (SPV) on the model of the Olympic Delivery Authority. This would make it arms-length from government, with private sector delivery partners and Network Rail, overseen by Transport for the North to ensure HS2, NPR and related upgrades are combined efficiently and with maximum value.

While significant benefits to the Northern economy are identified in this review, it is clear that further detailed work needs to be undertaken. Therefore, the panel are urging government not to make any decisions to scrap all or part of the project until that further economic analysis is complete.

In addition, the true scale of benefits to parts of the North are revealed:

  • The potential aggregate GVA prize for the North equates to £1,000bn between 2035 and 2050. If transport investment unlocks just 10% of this prize it would enable £100bn;

  • In Leeds, by 2050 HS2 will create 50,000 new direct jobs adding £54bn GVA to the regional economy;

  • In Greater Manchester, by 2050 HS2 will create 60,000 new jobs around Piccadilly and Manchester Airport with an additional 37,000 jobs around Crewe station;

  • In Liverpool, by 2050 HS2 direct services via NPR will create an additional 24,000 new jobs.

The report will be sent to the Transport Secretary, Prime Minister and Chancellor with the aim of informing the Government’s decisions on the next steps of the HS2 project.