HS2: George Osborne opens bidding for £12bn worth of contracts in China

Seven contracts up for grabs

Chancellor George Osborne is currently in China where he has opened the bidding process for £12bn worth of HS2 construction contracts in China, despite the project being yet to receive royal assent.

Bids will open on seven contracts for works covering the first phase of the project, the line between London and Birmingham.

The high speed rail line, which will become the world’s most expensive railway, has been dogged by controversy due to its high costs, concerns over its environmental impact, and its overall benefits.

Back in August, LondonLovesBusiness reported that the seven contracts would be contested by at least eight European firms, but it seems George Osborne would now prefer investment to come from the Chinese.

Speaking in Chengdu, Osborne said: “Launching HS2 is key to supporting long-term economic growth across the north and Midlands.

“That’s why I’m here in China today opening the bidding process for construction contracts worth £11.8bn, which will propel HS2 forward.

“We are truly entering a golden era of co-operation between our two countries, and it’s crucial that businesses and communities from across the UK feel the full benefit of forging closer economic links with China.”

Speaking on Radio 4 this morning, HS2 chief executive, Simon Kirby, who receives a taxpayer-funded £750,000 salary, said that getting the Chinese involved would bring “the best technology into the UK”, and would boost British jobs.

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