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South East: A third of SMEs anticipate benefits from HS2 project

By Dan Teuton
2 February 2015

A third of small and medium-sized businesses across the South East say they believe the high-speed rail project, HS2, will have a positive effect on their business.

Of this figure, 60% expect it to increase their growth potential by better connecting them to other UK cities.

The figures are drawn from the results of the latest quarterly Close Brothers Business Barometer, a survey that canvasses the views of small to medium-sized business owners and senior management.

CEO of Close Brothers Asset Finance Mike Randall said: “The HS2 high-speed railway project will connect London Euston, the Midlands, North West England, Yorkshire and potentially also the North East of England and the Central Belt of Scotland.

“It is hoped that the project, which is mooted to generate almost £60 billion in user benefits as well as around £13b wider economic benefits, will form part of Britain’s core economic infrastructure when complete.

“In theory HS2 will bring a range of benefits to businesses across the UK. Enhanced connectivity should boost productivity and bring opportunities for increased trade. It’s also worth noting that it will give cities outside of London a chance to make a wider contribution to the economy.”

The barometer also shows that 29% of those in the region who anticipate benefits from the HS2 project think that they will be able to access a greater talent pool thanks to reduced travelling time between cities.

Almost one in 10 local businesses hope to win a contract to be involved in the build of the project, whether it be manufacturing, construction or elsewhere in the supply chain.

“The results of our survey suggest that while construction on the project isn’t due to be begin until 2017, many businesses across the country have already begun to consider the positive impact, both direct and indirect, that it could have on them,” added Randall.

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