The HS2 jobs divide

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?


16 comments to “The HS2 jobs divide”
  1. John Williams I just wonder what you have been doing to help because you keep on talking about what we should do.I have written to Councils M.Ps newspapers ,spoken to people locally posted leaflets .At the road show people were going in and coming out straight to the NO stand and signing the petition so there are a lot of paper signatures along the route.For those who do not live near the proposed line or do not follow the news it is hard to get them to realise the situation.Many people are busy and intend to do it but forget and many are not on the web.The only good thing about this train is that I have had to learn to use a computer.I would rather no have the stress and be searching out my ancestors instead.

  2. Look at yourselves, like a bunch of Tricoteuses, sitting around knitting watching the guillotine whilst society around us descends into (financial) chaos.
    The penny hasn’t dropped yet has it? The campaign to collect 100,000 signatures to try to prevent the building of HS2 has failed. Can’t even achieve 50% after 60 weeks with just 6 to go.
    But to be fair, it’s not for the want of trying by many of the volunteers; it is through lack of leadership, organisation and direction.
    We are fast running out of options for success now, if we are to have any chance of achieving our goal.
    Have we approached the tens of thousands of commuters on the already crowded London underground for support yet?
    Why not seek the backing of the Unions? Aren’t there any members of any unions amongst us?
    Will we picket the forthcoming Union conferences?
    Are there none amongst us working in some of the large office blocks in the City who would be able to distribute leaflets and multiple petitions throughout the buildings?
    With the dozens of WI branches throughout the blighted area, has no member sought support at national level? Doesn’t anyone remember the slow handclap Tony Blair got in 2000 and the publicity it received?
    That’s where the mega mass of signatures lie, certainly not on the top of Coombe Hill preaching to the converted whilst enjoying a picnic.

    • What is John Williams DOING – apart from complaining?Perhaps he should set up his own campaign group.One wonders why it didn’t occur to him over a year ago.

    • On the subject of Union members,some of us joined the TUC Rally in London,carrying UNISON and STOP HS2 banners,and were interviewed by ITV Midlands as to why we were there.Some unions,such as ASLEF will naturally be in favour of HSR as it will create jobs.Lobbying them would be a waste of time. Incidentally,are not the W.I. tricoteuses?(literally,without watching the guillotine)

    • Sure the petition is important, but I am surprised you haven’t yet clicked on the most serious issue – the consultation document. If you don’t complete it and send it by the end of July your opinions will not count one iota towards the outcome. It is meant to be a national consultation, to be analysed and used to contribute to the decision as to whether or not to proceed with HS2.

      Have you done yours? Got your family, friends, neighbours, local Wl, Church congregation, corner shop etc to complete and send it?

      Just give us a clue that you have been in some way supportive of the cause you profess to espouse. I’d hate to think you’d done nothing except rail at those who have done all this and much, much more.

      Are you sure you came on here because you are against HS2? Why do I get the feeling that you have very scant regard for us here? With friends like you etc etc.

      I would love to be wrong in my assumptions, but you are alienating so many good people here, who are working so hard, its hard to think otherwise.

  3. Gary Why would folk NEED to travel to London if the money proposed for Hs2 was spent helping business to be built near Bham ,Leeds etc this would save them time money and reduce travel and so Co2 and save wild life ,and communities destruction !

    • Well said, Elaine.
      Let’s blockade the M 1, the WCML and M40- and don’t forget the Grand Union Canal…

  4. Take Leeds for example—what private sector jobs will be cretaed as a result of having HS2–what will companies be able to do then that they cant do now?

    • @John: “Take Leeds for example—what private sector jobs will be cretaed as a result of having HS2–what will companies be able to do then that they cant do now?”

      This is a spurious argument; disingenuous to boot.

      No one can predict these outcomes with any certainty. All you can do is use examples where connectivity has been dramatically improved and hypthosise (and that’s all it is – an eductated guess) on that basis.

      I direct you to this video clip, which is self explanatory concerning the benefits flowing from High Speed Rail connectivity.

      We also need to take into account dynamic and competitive factors – what is the potential cost of not building HS2 in an increasingly comptetitive environment? The fear is that by not building HS2, the peripheral Regions of the UK will be simply cut adrift in an integrating European landscape.

      There are already numerous studies out there to show how the bulk of economic activity takes place within certain golden triangles (or rectangles or whatever shape happens to fit the bill). These hotbeds are driven essentially by economic interaction and that requires improved connectivity – you either got it or you haven’t, you’re either in or you’re out.

      Not sure about you but I want my Region (NW.England) to be in, ie. connected to the burgeoning pan-European HSR network!

      • Its a very serious question —just what does their lawns or our jobs mean
        What jobs and what will businesses be able to do that they cant do now

  5. Gary, you would have to be earning a considerable salary
    To justify commuting from Birmingham. Even if the Hs2 ticket price compares
    With existing Costs. Somehow I think that the unemployed in Birmingham won’t fit into
    This demographic.

    • Which is actually no worse than what it is now…….it was mentioned that Birmingham would actually be what is Zone 4 today

      • Zone 4? Now that’s stretching it a bit! Amersham itself is zone 6. If Hs 2 drove down the price I’d be more than happy. Can’t see it happening somehow…..

  6. Just looking at the latest umemployment stats

    The top 3 worst areas are all in central Birmingham. If HS2 was up and running today, that unemployed labour force in the 3 areas would have access th the jobs market in London in less than an hour.

    The average commute time in the UK today is 47 minutes.

    £400000 per job as Geoffrey Robinson says is somewhat taking things out of context, HS2 is first and foremost , a new rail line designed to up capacity on our rail network.

    • It also shows that there are a lot of unemployed people in London. They already have access to the London jobs market but they are still unemployed.

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