HS2’s multi-billion-pound boost for UK businesses

Listen to this article

HS2’s construction is helping to keep over 2,000 UK businesses afloat as they continue to tackle difficult economic conditions.

Latest figures from HS2 show that tier two subcontracts totalling £7.9bn have been awarded to over 2,000 UK-based companies, with SMEs securing £3.6bn worth of orders – a 45% share.

Businesses in every UK region have won work supporting HS2’s construction, with the East of England, West Midlands, Greater London and the South East each amassing over £1bn worth of contracts.

Firms of all sizes have stepped up to deliver – £1.9bn worth of work has been awarded to medium sized businesses (50-250 employees), £677million to small businesses (11-49 employees) and just over £1billion to micro businesses (1-10 employees).

Rail Minister Huw Merriman said:

“These figures demonstrate the significant opportunities HS2 offers to UK businesses and supply chains. Not only is it transforming services on our railways, but it’s creating new opportunities for growth and supporting thousands of high-skilled jobs right across the country.

“The benefits of HS2 will be felt for generations to come, creating extra capacity on our rail network and providing a sustainable option for travel, while boosting a skilled construction workforce in the process.”

HS2’s supply chain is working at pace to provide a vast range of services including groundworks, archaeology, technology systems, and the manufacturing of parts, components and personal protective equipment. Many suppliers have gone on to win repeat business, and with two decades of construction to go, HS2 is providing a lifeline to companies seeking to recover and expand.

Ruth Todd, Chief Commercial Officer at HS2 Ltd, said:

“We’re working with specialist businesses and suppliers from across the UK to deliver Britain’s new high speed, low carbon railway. These firms are providing world-leading consultancy services, engineering solutions and products, with many going on to secure multiple contracts. Given the size and longevity of HS2, we’re able to provide businesses with a lasting pipeline of work, which is boosting confidence and prompting investment despite the challenging economic climate.

“It’s fantastic to see the impact partnering with HS2 is having on businesses in our supply chain, supporting and creating thousands of highly-skilled jobs for employees in communities in every corner of the UK.”

Karen Woolley, Development Manager at Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said:

“Procurement is an essential lever through which to support small business growth and innovation and, therefore, to enhance the productivity and the wider competitiveness of the economy. It is encouraging to see in black and white HS2’s level of spend with SMEs, which demonstrates the much-needed levelling of the playing field that the FSB has been calling for.

“At a time when trading conditions are quite possibly at the most challenging they have been for many years, smaller firms having the opportunity of accessing contracts with such an important infrastructure project as HS2 can provide that much needed boost to a company’s economic productivity, whilst also securing jobs and providing for economic stability.”

At the centre of the high speed network, West Midlands-based businesses have been quick to seize opportunities. When major civils works began in 2020, the breadth of contract opportunities grew and firms with expertise in delivering complex engineering solutions came to the forefront.

Mark Pickard, Managing Director of Walsall-based firm Altrad RMD Kwikform, said:

“Working on HS2 has given our business a timely boost, allowing us to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic and giving us the impetus to invest in our people and hire more staff.

“We’ve worked on various parts of the project, securing multiple contracts over the last few years on sites in London, the Colne Valley and now in Birmingham, where we’re helping to construct the viaduct that will bring high speed trains into the city centre. With years of construction still to go, we’re confident that our work on HS2 will continue to bring stability, prosperity and growth to the business.”

The Government’s announcement on 9 March 2023 confirmed that all phases of HS2 from Manchester to London Euston will go ahead. The first operational phase of HS2, between Old Oak Common and Birmingham Curzon Street, has been prioritised. Contract opportunities with HS2’s construction partners to support this programme of work are advertised on the CompeteFor platform and can be found on HS2’s website.

HS2 has published details of over 900 contracts awarded to its Tier 2 suppliers, and businesses are encouraged to reach out directly to discuss the opportunities this could present for them.

Companies of all sizes are encouraged to register their interest in winning work with HS2 and its contractors by registering their details on CompeteFor. For information and advice about becoming an HS2 supplier, read HS2’s Supplier Guide.

Photo credit: HS2 Ltd

Latest Rail News

Line re-opens between Aylesbury and Amersham after emergency landslip repairs

Network Rail has thanked passengers after completing major emergency repairs to the railway in Stoke Mandeville following a landslip...

More like this...