By Marcus Leach

Dr Adam Marshall, Director of Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has said that today's (Monday) news of further investment in the high speed 2 rail will create confidence for businesses.

The proposed route and the locations of new stations in the West Midlands, north west, East Midlands and Yorkshire were unveiled this morning as David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin underlined the government’s absolute commitment to investing in the infrastructure that Britain needs to compete and succeed in the global economy.

The publication today of the 211-mile northern phase two route of HS2, part of the government’s mid-term review, follows the confirmation a year ago of HS2’s 140-mile southern phase one route between London and Birmingham, which starts construction in four years and opens to passengers in 13 years. The routes announced today, running from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds, will open six years after that.

“Business welcomes the Prime Minister's commitment to extending high-speed rail to the great cities of the Midlands and the North. Transformative infrastructure projects like HS2 create confidence, jobs and competitiveness, as long as commitments and announcements lead swiftly to action on the ground," Dr Marshall said.

“Our existing railway network is at capacity and cannot be endlessly patched up at astronomical cost, as opponents of HS2 continue to suggest.

“Yet we hope ministers can go further still. Alongside the commitment to extend the line to Manchester and Leeds, they must envision and plan for a full national network. They must also reassure business communities in cities off the high-speed network that conventional lines will continue to carry good-quality services for both passengers and freight.

“Finally, business is concerned at the news that the proposed link to Britain's only global hub airport, Heathrow, has been put on hold. This is an unwelcome consequence of the government's near-complete paralysis on the crucial issue of aviation and global connectivity.”

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