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HS2 depot could cost Birmingham 7,000 jobs, claims MP

Hodge Hill MP Liam Byrne won a debate in Parliament as part of his opposition to the planned HS2 marshalling yard on an ex-factory site in Washwood Heath

CGI of the planned HS2 rail line

Plans for a high speed rail depot in Birmingham could ultimately cost the city 7,000 jobs, according to a city MP.

Hodge Hill MP Liam Byrne won a debate in Parliament today as part of his opposition to the planned HS2 marshalling yard on an ex-factory site in Washwood Heath.

The development would reportedly create 650 jobs but Mr Byrne said up to 7,000 jobs could be created on the site within five years under alternative proposals.

Mr Byrne said: "I am a supporter of HS2 but we've got to get it right for everyone in our city - not just for some.

"This gigantic site has come together like a giant jigsaw puzzle for the first time in 100 years. Developing the site as a whole could create 5,000 to 7,000 jobs in the short term.

"That would be a huge boost to the worst unemployment hotspot in Britain. What today's debate is all about is simple.

"If HS2 destroys our best chance in a generation to get our community back to work, then they need to show just how they will create a similar number of jobs in the short term - not in 10 years’ time."

The depot has been earmarked for the former site of the Alstom and LDV plant but would not open for a decade.

Mr Byrne said it was on the borders of Ladywood, Erdington and Hodge Hill - the three constituencies which were home to 45 per cent of Birmingham’s unemployed.

The politician said last year that the owners had been approached by potential developers. And he said turning the land - the size of 100 football pitches - over to alternative job creation schemes could save around £35 million a year in unemployment benefit.

Other speakers in the today’s debate were due to include Sutton Coldfield Tory MP Andrew Mitchell and Jack Dromey, Labour MP for Erdington.

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