New research shows more than two-thirds of businesses in Birmingham and Solihull are in favour of the high speed rail link (HS2) between London, Birmingham and the north.
A survey by Birmingham Chamber of Commerce indicates that 72 per cent of Birmingham and Solihull businesses believe that HS2 will open up inward investment, employment and economic prosperity opportunities for the future.
However, as research conducted by the Birmingham Post this month showed, the proposals are more popular in Birmingham and Solihull than elsewhere in the West Midlands.
The research was conducted by Birmingham Chamber, which is a member of the Go-HS2 alliance, which endorses the plans.
Christine Braddock, Birmingham Chamber’s president, said: “Reduced travel times and increased capacity will create new market opportunities, attract inward investment and increase the region’s access to customers.”
Research conducted by the Post in the past month showed two-thirds of respondents opposed the Government’s plan to build a £17 billion high speed railway between London and Birmingham, while more than half did not believe the project would bring any economic benefits to the West Midlands.
The research highlighted a division in the West Midlands, with more than 68 per cent of respondents in Birmingham and Solihull considering themselves in favour of HS2, while more than 89 per cent of those in other parts of the region were opposed.
More than 61 per cent of respondents to the Post’s survey were from within five miles of the proposed route.
However, Dr Braddock said the scheme would mean vital investment into the area.
She said: “Unemployment in our region is 9.7 per cent so developing sustainable long-term jobs is paramount. We require skilled jobs that won’t disappear, which this region has failed on over the last decade.
“With London benefiting from Crossrail and Thameslink, the business community here in Birmingham is desperate to also benefit from investment in first-class transport links which would no doubt help re-balance the economy.
“The Government is currently spending £2 billion a year on Crossrail, a major infrastructure project benefiting London and the South East.
“Once that project has completed, this country can afford to continue that level of investment in another major and desperately-needed infrastructure project which is HS2. This will benefit the whole country and especially the Midlands and the North from day one of opening.”