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KPMG: northern powerhouse a step closer following Higgins HS2 phase 2 report
Heather Church - October 27, 2014

Richard Threlfall, KPMG’s UK Head of Infrastructure, Building and Construction, has welcomed the HS2 phase 2 update by Executive Chairman David Higgins. He said the project is a step closer to creating a northern powerhouse.

The HS2 phase 2 report sets out proposals for how to maximise the benefits of HS2 in the north of England and how transport links can be improved in the north more widely. In the report, Sir David identifies the importance of improving east west connectivity across the north and considers the central role a high speed rail link could play. He concludes that with a high speed link the journey time between Leeds and Manchester could be cut from around 55 to between 26 and 34 minutes.

Mr Threlfall said:

“Future generations will look back on today and celebrate a vision that made the UK great again.

“HS2 is a critical investment to the rebalancing of our economic wealth. Today’s announcement reconfirms the case for a high speed rail network that connects our major cities, and takes us a step closer to creating a northern powerhouse.

“Over the last ten years, according to ONS data, the North’s share of the UK’s economic output has fallen by more than 5%. This trend will continue unless we invest to share our country’s economic success beyond the South East.

“HS2 phase 2 recognises the dismal state of links between the heart of the UK and its Northern cities today. The second phase, together with HS3 linking our northern city regions, should finally turn the tide and help the North regain its historic prominence in the UK economy.

“Local political and business leaders now need to come together and develop the connectivity that HS2 and HS3 offers into an overall vision for the development of the North.

“The objective is clear – a vibrant, successful and integrated northern economy that our children will be proud to inherit. Today’s announcement brings us an important step closer to that.”