Mark Whitehead 30 November 2017

‘Improved connectivity’ will close economic gap between regions, says HS2 company

Improved connectivity will drive growth across much of the UK and help close the gap between the best and worst performing regions, according to a new study.

The report by the company building the HS2 railway says world-leading skills and research in the North of England and Midlands can match that of London and the South-East.

A statement by HS2 Limited published by the Government emphasises the regional strengths of highly-skilled manufacturing clusters, universities and research centres and 'cutting edge technology entrepreneurs'.

But the report, HS2: Getting the best out of Britain, drawing on evidence from employers, local authorities and universities, warns that more needs to be done to draw the clusters together and realise their full potential.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: 'As Britain’s new railway, HS2 will deliver vital links between some of our country’s biggest cities, driving economic growth and productivity and helping to deliver the Government’s industrial strategy.

'By bringing our major cities, regions and communities closer together we are encouraging business and innovation and building a Britain that is fit for the future with a stronger economy and fairer society.'

David Higgins, chairman of High Speed Two Ltd, said the report provided evidence that the new railway will boost productivity in the North and Midlands.

He said: 'This is a once in a generation opportunity to join up and amplify the many centres of excellence around the country, as we prepare to exit the European Union.'

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