YORKSHIRE will lose out on the economic benefits of HS2 unless the region get fully behind the controversial £50bn project, it is claimed.
The warning comes after new research revealed that 62 per cent of small and medium-sized business believe that the region does not need the high-speed rail project.
The research for law firm Nabarro and the Yorkshire Post was launched at an event in Leeds yesterday morning attended by business leaders. Paul Chapman, interim director of communications at HS2, told the audience: “My biggest concern is how do we make sure Yorkshire does not miss out?”
The new HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins met with leaders of the core cities, the LEP chairs and shire county leaders on Friday. “They are heavily engaged in the debate,” said Mr Chapman.
“Yes, HS2 needs to work hard to make the case. Yes, we need to do more.
“But if I go to Birmingham or Manchester, the chambers of commerce are solidly behind this.”
Gerald Jennings, portfolio director at Trinity Leeds developer Land Securities, said fears that talent and investment will be sucked into London suggest that the region lacks the confidence and ambition to take advantage of infrastructure improvement.
He said if ministers believe that Yorkshire is not in favour they could decide that HS2 will just go to the north west and scrap the line to Yorkshire.
Roger Marsh, chairman of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and former PwC chief, said there is a danger that the Government will make a virture of the west to the detriment of Yorkshire.