Dear Editor, As business people we are all too aware how poor transport infrastructure in Britain has held back our ability to take full advantage of opportunities to grow our businesses.

For too long we have struggled with dated, over-burdened rail services whilst our competitors in Europe and elsewhere have invested in 21st century high-speed rail.

That is why we believe the Government is right to develop a new high-speed rail line for Britain. Linking our major cities in the Midlands, the North of England and London will bring real benefits, boosting our ability to recruit staff, move goods and services, and access wider opportunities to do business.

It will bring all the regions of Britain closer together and create much needed capacity. It will free space to transfer more freight to rail which will be good for the economy and good for the environment. It brings the prospect of an end to overcrowded, unpleasant commuting for many thousands of workers.

As employers we need this investment; our employees need this investment; our region needs this investment. Now is the time to show our support for high-speed rail.

Jerry Blackett, Chief Executive, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce

Peter Blakemore, Managing Director, AF Blakemore

Jeremy Blood, Chief Executive, Mitchells and Butlers plc

MJ Burn-Murdoch, Director, Lalcrest Ltd

George Cowcher, Chief Executive, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce

Dennis Curran, Chairman, Barhale Construction plc

Mark Cutler, Chief Executive, Barhale Construction plc

Francis Edum-Fotwe, Lecturer, Loughborough University

Jonathan Enever, Director, Gleeds Cost Management Ltd

Paul Fielding, Board Director, Colmore Business Direct

Colin Flack, Chief Executive, Rail Alliance

Amy Folkes, Director, Folkes Holdings Ltd

Tim Garratt, Director, Innes England

Professor David Greenaway, Vice Chancellor, University of Nottingham

Jackie Hendley, Chairman, Birmingham Forward

Graham Howe, Director, West Nottinghamshire College

Paul Kehoe, Chief Executive, Birmingham International Airport

John Lyle, Director of Brands, Purple Circle Design

Peter Matthews, Chairman & Managing Director, Black Country Metals Ltd

Ian Morgan, Deputy Chairman, Wellglade Holdings Ltd

Gareth Morgan, Deputy Chair, Birmingham Future

John Morris, Head of Government Affairs, Birmingham International Airport

Graham Nalty, Proprietor, Black Rhodium

David Plummer, Director of Finance and Support Services, Shirebrook Academy

Vanessa Pupavac, Chief Executive, Business Birmingham

Ron Sinclair, Managing Director, Baseefa Ltd

Deborah Smith, Owner & Director, Wordsmith Communication

Paul Thandi, Chief Executive, NEC Group

Simon Topman, Chief Executive, Acme Whistles

James Woudhuysen, Professor of Forecasting & Innovation, De Montfort University