HS2 task force wants dedicated minister to oversee local growth projects

The government task force charged with overseeing the controversial HS2 rail network has said it needs a dedicated government minister to co-ordinate local growth projects on the route.

The HS2 Taskforce report said that the rail line will “kick-start growth and regeneration”, and that local authorities should create growth plans to capitalise on the opportunities the link will present.

In addition, the report calls for a dedicated minister to lead local growth.

It says: “As was so successful with the Olympic and Paralympic Games, we want a dedicated minister to be appointed to lead regeneration and development around HS2 at the national level.”

The HS2 Taskforce chairman, Lord Deighton has said he wants to avoid a “build it and they will come”, scenario. He said: “It is up to all of us in the government, local authorities, HS2 Ltd and UK businesses to make the most of this unique opportunity.”

According to the BBC, anti-HS2 campaigners say that the task force report demonstrates that the project, which already has a budget of £50bn, will need even more investment if it is to bring real benefits to the regions.

But London Mayor Boris Johnson said: “Lord Deighton helped us to deliver the most successful Olympic Games in living memory and we should listen carefully to what he has to say about HS2.”

When complete, HS2 will reduce journey times by 35 minutes between London and Birmingham, by 46 minutes between London and Sheffield, 50 minutes between London and Leeds and by 45 minutes between London and Edinburgh.

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