HS2 today received a “shot in the arm” after Royal Assent was granted to Phase 2a which takes the high-speed line from Birmingham to Crewe.

The Act of Parliament was passed exactly one year after Ministers gave the project the green light.

It will allow HS2 Ltd to begin work on constructing the next phase of the new high-speed railway between Crewe and Birmingham, creating thousands of jobs.

Construction of the first stage of the project between the West Midlands and London is already underway and is now supporting more than 15,000 jobs and 500 apprenticeships.

Paul Faulkner, chief executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce hailed the news as a “shot in the arm for the whole project”.

He said: “This news really matters because HS2 is so key and essential for our economy here in the West Midlands.

“It has been a catalyst for the regeneration we’ve seen here in Birmingham and the wider region in recent years.

“HS2 is going to be the real driver that helps to drag us out of this Covid slump and fuel our recovery.

“It is already employing over 15,000 people now, including 500 apprentices.

“This is another shot in the arm for the whole project, it proves to some of those doubters that it is going to happen and it is very welcome during these challenging times.”

Construction of Phase 2a is expected to support around 5,000 jobs, with many more in the supply chain.

In addition, the railway will support 140 permanent jobs at its maintenance base near Stone in Staffordshire.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Whatever your view of this project, HS2 is now a reality – heading north, creating jobs and building a brighter future for our country.

“This vital project is at the heart of the Government’s commitments to build back better from the pandemic, tackle the North-South divide and drive growth across the country.

“The signing of the Phase 2a Bill into law is an historic milestone for this ambitious project, which is already creating and supporting thousands of jobs across the UK. I look forward to seeing spades in the ground to get this section built and deliver the benefits of high-speed rail to the North as swiftly as possible.”

Today’s announcement comes alongside the launch of the West Midlands Combined Authority’s HS2 Growth strategy, which outlines how the new railway could generate 175,000 jobs and £20bn investment in the region.

Images are of the new HS2 Station being built in Curzon Street, Birmingham.

Mark Bentley

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