Can the north afford the new High Speed 2 rail link?
Published: 20th Oct 2011 17:29:49
A war of words has broken out over the cost of the proposed new high speed rail link between London and the north of England.
Critics of the High Speed 2 project say the estimated total cost of £32bn is too high, considering many areas will not benefit directly from the service.
There are plans to build the first stage of the HS2 link from London to Birmingham by the year 2026.
The line would then extend north in a 'Y' shape, with a north-western branch routed to Manchester and a north-eastern branch heading to Leeds by 2032/33.
It is estimated the new high speed link would shave an hour off the journey time from Leeds to London - from approximately two hours 20 minutes at present - to just 80 minutes in the future.
Supporters include the Conservative MP for Pudsey, Stuart Andrew, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on High Speed Rail.
Mr Andrew claims that one million jobs could be underpinned by investment in high-speed rail.
The million jobs figure comes from a study by Arup and Volterra for the Core Cities Group - an alliance of local authorities from England's eight largest cities outside of London.
The HS2 proposal has already attracted considerable opposition from residents along the first stage of the earmarked route between London and the West Midlands.
Now campaigners are focussing on the cost of HS2, with claims it will cost every family an average of £1,000.
A new website entitled - What is High Speed Rail costing you? - has been launched.
It suggests the money could be better spent elsewhere at a time of public spending cuts.
I recognise what a big decision this will be and also recognise there are many views on this and I will take great care on how I look at them”
The final decision on whether to give the green light to the HS2 project will be taken by the new Transport Secretary Justine Greening.
Ms Greening recently told a committee of MPs: "To my mind, when you look at what high-speed rail has brought to other countries it's impossible not to see the benefits.
"It's absolutely right to look at HS2.
"I recognise what a big decision this will be and also recognise there are many views on this and I will take great care on how I look at them."
The question now is whether the government can justify the cost of creating a new age of the high speed train.
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2011. Can the north afford the new High Speed 2 rail link? [Online] (Updated 20th Oct 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/195590/Can-the-north-afford-the-new-High-Speed-2-rail-link [Accessed 24th Jul 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
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