The following article by Julie in support of High Speed Rail was originally published on LabourList on July 27th 2011. You can read more about the campaign in favour of High Speed Rail here.
Today sees the publication of a report that supports the economic case for high-speed rail. The report, commissioned by Britain's leading cities, is supported by politicians and business leaders in every major city in the north: Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield. It states that 1,000,000 jobs rely on the Coalition's investment in high-speed rail.
According to Volterra, the authors of the report, 400,000 jobs could be created in Britain's core cities, with an extraordinary growth effect elsewhere. High-speed rail will encourage GDP growth in the affected areas by up to 3 per cent, and see a local wage increase of between 1.06% and 2.7%. It proves what so many have been saying all along: HS2 is needed for national infrastructure and will be good for jobs and growth.
The opposition to high-speed rail has been proven wrong. Just last week opponents stated that HS2 will cost every income tax-payer £1,000. But the research cited by Volterra shows high-speed rail will generate £800 of benefit per income tax payer each year for the economy, and £330 in revenue each year for the Exchequer.
Although the figures speak for themselves, high-speed rail isn't just about economic buzzwords, or about the now polarised argument for and against - we need to consider the benefits that HS2 will bring to the people of the North.
People using the West Coast Main Line will know it is rapidly reaching capacity, and with the ever-increasing popularity of rail travel, doing nothing is simply not an option. We need to plan for the future and ensure the best transport solution for the people is built now.
If it becomes too late then it is our infrastructure that will strangle the growth and jobs we need in cities and towns across the North. Our people should be able get to work faster, and businesses of every size should be able to connect to other cities in a new, improved way to foster innovation.
Importantly, we need to stop feeling like a poor relation of London. The core cities in the North are the leaders of the national economy outside London, especially in these times of economic hardship. We need a chance to harness our strength and grow.
The people of the North deserve nothing less.