Manufacturers on board for high-speed rail project

Posted on 2 Feb 2015 by Victoria Fitzgerald

Over a quarter of small and medium sized businesses in the UK manufacturing sector say they believe the high-speed rail project, HS2, will have a positive effect on their business, according to the latest quarterly Close Brothers Business Barometer.

Of this figure, 57% expect it to increase their growth potential by better connecting them to other UK cities.

The figures are drawn from the results of the latest quarterly Close Brothers Business Barometer, a survey that canvasses the views of small to medium sized business owners and senior management.

Managing Director of the Manufacturing Division at Close Brothers Asset Finance, Steve Gee said: “The HS2 high speed railway project will connect London Euston, the Midlands, North West England, Yorkshire and potentially also the North East of England and the Central Belt of Scotland.

“It is hoped that the project, which is mooted to generate almost £60 billion in user benefits as well as around £13 billion wider economic benefits, will form part of Britain’s core economic infrastructure when complete.

“In theory HS2 will bring a range of benefits to businesses across the UK. Enhanced connectivity should boost productivity and bring opportunities for increased trade. It’s also worth noting that it will give cities outside of London a chance to make a wider contribution to the economy.”

The research also shows that 28% of manufacturers that anticipate benefits from the HS2 project think that they will be able to access a greater talent pool thanks to reduced travelling time between cities.

Furthermore, one in 10 manufacturing firms hope to win a contract to be involved in the build of the project.

“The results of our survey suggest that while construction on the project isn’t due to be begin until 2017, many businesses across the country have already begun to consider the positive impact, both direct and indirect, that it could have on them.”