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2020 / 2021 Edition

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‘Get HS2 done’ says Mineral Products Association

HS2

MPA calls on Prime Minister to make firm and early decision on high-speed rail link

COMMENTING on the Oakervee Report on HS2, which is understood to recommend that the high-speed rail link should go ahead in full, Nigel Jackson, chief executive of the Mineral Products Association (MPA), said: ‘The mineral products industry has long called for government to focus on improving and accelerating delivery of major infrastructure projects in line with stated timescales.

‘Over recent years and over many different projects, we have seen expected infrastructure projects fail to deliver on time, if at all. The Oakervee Report’s support for continuing with HS2 is welcome, but the continued uncertainty and caveats mean our members are still unsure if they should expect their order books to see any impact.

‘Major projects do not exist solely to benefit the supply chain, but after years of government announcements we at least hoped to be in a position to plan with some confidence. Unfortunately, we still can’t.

‘It is hard to retain shareholder confidence when ‘normal’ business uncertainty is compounded by such indecision and delay. Budget forecasts which had already slipped now have to be torn up, and forward investment in new and improved plant capacity written off over less business.

‘The UK desperately needs to renew and upgrade its transport and energy infrastructure, and our members stand ready to supply the materials for these projects, but experience has led them to be sceptical of big announcements translating into orders in their books or work on the ground.

‘We call on the Prime Minister to make a firm and early decision on HS2 and give our industry more confidence to invest and in turn boost growth.’

With 15 Tory MPs from across the country preparing to meet Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week to raise concerns about the project, it is believed some are set to urge him to drop the scheme after it emerged that the cost of the rail link could almost double from the £56 billion expected in 2015 to £106 billion.

Mr Johnson, who has indicated he would be in favour of an infrastructure project that rebalances the UK’s economy away from London, is expected to make a decision on whether the project goes ahead in the coming weeks.

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