New figures show that thousands of UK businesses have won contracts to support the high-speed line’s construction. Latest quarterly data shows that over £11.5 billion worth of tier two contracts have been awarded by HS2’s construction partners to businesses of all sizes, in every UK region.
The figures underline the extent to which investment in the high-speed line continues to flow back into the UK economy, helping to create new jobs even in regions not directly on the line of the new railway.
Since 2016, the Midlands has won £2.68 billion worth of contracts, eclipsed only by Greater London, where many company HQs are situated, with £3.16 billion. Over £1.9 billion has been won by businesses in the south east, and firms in the north have received a combined share of £1.69 billion.
Contracts linked to building the high speed network are expected to continue for at least five more years, stimulating new business for the 3,000 UK-based suppliers already providing goods and services, with the chance for more to join them.
Major civils contracts for the flagship stations in Old Oak Common, Solihull, and Birmingham have been awarded, but new opportunities will stem from the extensive fit out programmes. The year ahead will also see a shift away from HS2’s civils dominated works to planning for the integration of rail systems, unleashing a raft of work packages for companies in the tech, digital and rail sectors.
Andrew Cubitt, HS2’s procurement and supply chain director said: “High speed rail is well established across Europe, but there’s untapped potential here in the UK. Successful businesses diversify, and that’s exactly what we need companies on our doorstep to do.
“A broader scope of contracts is coming down the line, so this is the time for firms in the rail, tech and digital sectors to start engaging with HS2.”
Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) – companies with 250 or fewer employees – have been quick to capitalise on the expansion potential that HS2 brings, securing £4.5 billion worth of work.
In the East of England, Suffolk-based SME, Regal Tanks, is just one of the suppliers to have benefitted from a share of £1.3 billion in awards.
Neil Alger, Managing Director of Regal Tanks said: “For a small company like ours to be selected as the main industrial storage tank supplier for HS2 is huge. And it’s not only boosted our business, our supply chain is reaping the benefits too.
“One of our manufacturers’ entire production line is now filled with HS2 orders for the next year. It’s a challenge, but everyone has stepped up, as we all want to play a part in HS2.”
New business opportunities are also set to be created as Hitachi/Alstom intensifies its search for suppliers to support the interior fit out of HS2’s fleet of high speed trains. With manufacturing and maintenance already set to bring new jobs to County Durham, Derby and Crewe, suppliers across the country are encouraged to register now for the opportunities ahead.
Image credit: HS2