Some supporters of HS2 say its needed to create jobs in the north, as if building a new railway line is the only way to create jobs.
The question is what jobs, and where?
Looking at the consultation document for HS2, HS2 Ltd do say that some jobs will be created. But from what they say, most of the permanent jobs created will be based in London – about 7 jobs out of each 10.
Birmingham gets about 9000 permanent jobs – if the HS2 Ltd estimates are correct – after the first phase of HS2 is built, at a cost of £17 billion. (Meanwhile HS2 Ltd say there will be over 20,000 jobs for London.)
However, as we reported in March (see also jobs tomorrow, but not today), there are issues with even these jobs, such as the 300 jobs that could be created at the proposed maintenance depot at Washwood Heath.
Local MPs in Birmingham think that waiting 10 years is too long to create jobs on an already vacant site – especially as they have plans which would result in many more, better skilled jobs on the site.
And Geoffrey Robinson, MP for Coventry, pointed out, “Even on their figures, it’ll cost £400,000 for each job they say it will create. It’s so ridiculous it doesn’t bear thinking about.” That’s a very high cost job creation scheme.
So when it comes down to it, the HS2 job creation scheme creates worse jobs then other schemes, is expensive per job created and ends up with the vast majority of jobs in London.
Is HS2 really a good job creation scheme for the North?