A national high-speed rail (HSR) network could create as many as 42,000 jobs, according to a study.
HSR would enhance economic performance and boost annual economic output by between £17 billion and £29 billion by 2040, the report added.
The report, prepared by management consultancy company KPMG, was commissioned by Greengauge 21, the body established to initiate debate on HSR in Britain.
The report said the additional annual economic impacts of HSR could increase annual tax receipts by between £6 billion and £10 billion by 2040 (at 2010 prices).
“HSR therefore delivers a good return to the Treasury and taxpayer and is a cost-effective approach to securing future national prosperity”, the report said.
The report estimated that a national HSR network could contribute between 25,000 and 42,000 additional jobs in Britain, as more productive businesses offered higher wages and attracted more people into the labour market.
It said a comprehensive national network of high-speed services could provide a major change in business-to-business connectivity and effectively link the major cities, creating a single national market for service sector and knowledge-based businesses.
HSR could have substantial impacts on Britain’s economic geography, tending to concentrate activity in the centre of the core cities served as well as changing the future pattern of regional economic growth.
The greater economic impacts would be in the north of the country, with the largest gains in Yorkshire and the Humber, Scotland, North-east and North-west England, and the East and West Midlands. This would help close the north-south divide.
Greengauge 21 director Jim Steer said: “Our new analysis demonstrates that in the long term the Treasury will be winners too, through substantial additional tax revenues.”
A Government-commissioned report on HSR is currently being considered by ministers, with Transport Secretary Lord Adonis expected to outline the Government’s HSR position in a White Paper next month.