Construction professionals welcome HS2 decision

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced yesterday (11 February) that the divisive HS2 scheme would go ahead, as the construction industry reacts to the news

Johnson said the decision to plough ahead with HS2 had been a “controversial” and “difficult” one.

He revealed he would appoint a full-time minister to oversee the project and slated the HS2 company’s management of the scheme.

The Prime Minister said: “I cannot say that HS2 limited has distinguished itself in the handling of local communities. The cost forecasts have exploded, but poor management to date has not detracted from the fundamental value of the project.”

He also stated that measures would be taken to “restore discipline to the programme”, this includes investigating costs to identify where savings can be made in phase one.

Industry reaction

Following Johnson’s announcement, construction industry professionals were keen to share their opinions on the news.

The Construction Leadership Council welcomed the decision to approve the construction of the full HS2 programme.

Construction Leadership Council co-chair Andy Mitchell, said: “I welcome the decision to give HS2 the green light.  The construction sector now has a golden opportunity to demonstrate how far we have come in developing new skills and innovative techniques to deliver a high-performing high speed railway.

“I am confident that our industry partners will respond positively to the challenge.”

While, CITB’s policy director, Steve Radley, commented: “Today’s decision will increase the demand for a range of skills in construction but the certainty will give the industry the confidence to invest in apprenticeships and upskilling its workforce.

“And the opportunity to work a game-changing project will help construction to attract the next generation of workers.”

Elsewhere, Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail, said: “The decision to go ahead with HS2 is good news for the economy in general and is an immediate fillip to the construction sector.

“The review of the northern sections of HS2 must not be an excuse for further delays, instead the government must look on how the final completion date can be brought forward, while applying joined-up thinking. Ensuring that an effective cross Pennine northern rail line is linked into HS2 and built as soon as practical.

“Public procurement must be for public good and that means a respect for workers’ terms and conditions. If HS2 is going to be delivered without further delays or cost increases it is imperative unions play a full part in the project.

“There can no room as the HS2 project now fully moves forward for the bad practices of Costain and Skanska to be allowed re-occur.”

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