HS2 Bill backed but other projects 'conspicuously absent' from speech


Civil engineering contractors have backed the Government’s plans to legislate for the next phase of HS2 but reaction to the Queen’s speech has also noted the infrastructure projects that were not mentioned.

Marie-Claude Hemming, director of external affairs for the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, said: ‘The new Government must now get on with the job by providing the certainty industry needs to thrive. We welcome the announcement of a bill to deliver the next phase of HS2, but this is just one of many schemes that the UK must press ahead with to shore up the economy.

Heathrow expansion was not mentioned in the speech

‘In particular, we would like to hear more detail about the Government’s plans for Crossrail 2, which was conspicuous in its absence from the Conservative manifesto. This is just one of a range of schemes that we must now prioritise and bring forward to market to deliver post-Brexit growth.

‘After a period of uncertainty cause by the unexpected election result, it is vital that the Government does all in its power to boost investment, rebalance the economy, and provide the visibility industry requires to deliver the economic growth businesses and communities rely upon.’

Patrick Flaherty, chief executive – UK & Ireland, AECOM, said: ‘Given the difficult circumstances the Government faces following the recent election, there was a lot to welcome in [the] speech. We were especially pleased that the new modern industrial strategy played such a prominent role and agree with the Government about the vital importance of infrastructure investment to the future of the nation’s prosperity.

‘Commitments to HS2, electric cars and protecting critical infrastructure were all welcome. However, we would also like to have seen Crossrail 2 and the Heathrow expansion mentioned.’

He added: ‘It was good to see the Government’s reiterated commitment to the importance of technical education and fairer funding in schools.’

Richard Threlfall, KPMG’s UK head of infrastructure, building and construction, said: ‘Today’s announcement connects more of our major cities to a high speed rail network, and takes us a step closer to creating a Northern Powerhouse.

‘The commitment recognises the dismal state of links between the heart of the UK and its Northern cities today. This should finally turn the tide and help the North regain its historic prominence in the UK economy.’

Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin said: ‘It seems completely at odds with everything else we keep seeing about cuts everywhere else, that money continues to be ploughed into an unjustified white elephant, which will only benefit the richest in society who can afford to use it, and the corporations who will rake in billions above the proposed budget for building it.’


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