17 November 2016 14:45
Pressure must be kept on government for South West infrastructure improvements, says Somerset Chamber
Following the government’s announcements this week regarding progress for the high-speed rail line HS2, the Somerset Chamber of Commerce has stressed the need for local councils and MPs to keep up the pressure on the government in order to ensure that the South West does not lose out.
The preferred route for phase 2b of the £55bn line was confirmed by the government on 15th November, along with the award of the preliminary works contract for phase 1, being the London to West Midlands route. This comes just one week after the government announced it was to defer four sections of the planned electrification of the Great Western railway line, which was expected to stimulate growth throughout the region.
Graham Knight, Chairman of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, said,
“Whilst I am pleased that the government is following up on capital investment as promised, in reality the growth it is supposed to stimulate comes from two sources – firstly incremental growth, which may have not otherwise have happened, and secondly growth secured from elsewhere, in other words growth which would have gone to other parts of the country and is now going north.
“The latter of these is to our loss if our own representatives, such as our councils and MPs, do not continue their pressure to stimulate growth in the South West. The delay of the electrification of the Great Western rail line, which was announced last week, is a clear example of this dichotomy.”
The Somerset Chamber of Commerce is one of only five accredited Chambers in the South West and 52 in the whole of the UK. It is one of the fastest growing Chambers in the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) network and works closely with the BCC to make sure Somerset businesses stay well connected at both a local and national level, and that the voices of the Somerset business community are heard at all levels of government.