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CPA response to government cancellation of HS2

Association chief says scrapping of the northern leg is extremely disappointing and frustrating

RESPONDING to the Prime Minister’s announcement of the scrapping the northern leg of HS2 from Birmingham to Manchester, the Construction Products Association (CPA) said the move was ‘extremely disappointing’.

CPA chief executive Peter Caplehorn said: ‘The Prime Minister’s announcement today on scrapping the rest of the HS2 project is extremely disappointing and frustrating. With this decision, jobs, investments, and resources amongst UK manufacturers and construction businesses large and small will go to waste.

‘Following so soon after the chopping and changing of net-zero policies, this will only serve to further undermine the decreasing confidence that industry has for this government.

‘The Prime Minister’s suggestion that £36 billion will be redirected into transport projects across the North and Midlands implies that it is a case of either one or the other; however, the country clearly needs major investment in local, regional and national infrastructure all together as was done during HS1 and Crossrail.

‘Instead, we are left to suffer further uncertainty as the ‘savings’ might be spent on new projects that nevertheless won’t result in spades in the ground for many years yet.

‘Construction product manufacturers and the whole construction supply chain are key enabling industries for nearly all government policies, but require certainty to allow longer-term planning for skills, materials, and plant investment. This is especially true around major infrastructure projects.

‘It is important, therefore, for government and industry to learn the lessons here about how such projects are delivered. In particular, government needs to seek greater consistency in terms of planning and supervision, and ensure it avoids pauses, reviews, and constant changes in direction that create waste. All of these are significant causes of costs spiralling out of control.

‘Better infrastructure planning is desperately needed within government, with robust mechanisms for oversight, accountability, and delivery embedded within policy to avoid these projects becoming the victim of short-term political changes and electioneering tactics.’