New figures revealing HS2 employs just seven people in Birmingham and 550 in London have been condemned as “absolutely disgraceful” by Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood
The business formed to build the proposed high speed rail line is employing just seven people in Birmingham and 550 in London.
Ministers have revealed the jobs divide, which was condemned as “absolutely disgraceful” by Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood.
He uncovered the figures after quizzing the Government about the planed £42 billion rail line known as HS2 which will run between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. A business set up by the Department for Transport to build the line, called HS2 Ltd, has an office in St Philip’s Place, in Birmingham city centre.
But Transport Minister Robert Goodwill admitted almost all the staff were in London, saying: “As of 31 October 2013, HS2 Ltd employed 557 people, of whom 550 were based in London and seven in Birmingham.”
Mr Mahmood said the failure to create jobs in the Midlands would encourage opponents of the controversial scheme.
He said: “The high speed line is supposed to be about rejuvenating the economies of the north and Birmingham. This is not the way to do it - employing seven people out of 557.
“The government needs to get its act together. Rather than blaming everyone else for not supporting it, they need to ensure the jobs are distributed across the country and particularly in Birmingham and Manchester.”
An HS2 Ltd spokesman said: “Birmingham will be at the heart of the high speed rail network and HS2 will play a big part in the region’s future economic prosperity.
“As the project moves forward a significant number of resources will be based outside London, in the West Midlands and elsewhere, not least for practical reasons.
“HS2 will demand a range of skills across a broad range of areas as the project develops from planning and design through to construction and operation. This will bring thousands and thousands of job opportunities throughout the country.”