Halton business leaders back high speed rail campaign

Paula Cain, chairman of Halton Chamber of Commerce, and Robert Hough, chairman of the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership

Paula Cain, chairman of Halton Chamber of Commerce, and Robert Hough, chairman of the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership

First published in News Runcorn and Widnes World: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

HALTON business leaders have pledged their support to bring High Speed Rail to Liverpool.

Currently, trains are only linked by a spur from Crewe which would bring EuroStar style trains through Runcorn on a conventional track.

Halton Chamber of Commerce has joined forces with other businesses and councillors to lobby the Government and HS2 Limited to extend the route to the city.

They believe it could create 14,000 new jobs and regenerate the economy.

Campaigners fear that without a full link, the region could miss out on millions of pounds of growth and will not be as attractive to investors as Manchester, which has already secured a direct HS2 service.

Paula Cain, chief executive of Halton Chamber of Commerce, said: "High speed rail to Liverpool will enable connectivity, jobs and additional opportunities for busnesses.

"All of these things are of paramount importance."

Business leaders believe fast trains would support the region's freight and logistics hub which alone could mean up to 20,000 new jobs.

The campaign is backed by the Combined Authority, which includes Halton, Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton and St Helens.

Clr Phil Davies, chairman of the combined authority, said: "High Speed Rail would bring enormous benefits to the City Region, an £8.3 billion boost to our economy, more jobs, more visitors.

"Delivering full High Speed Rail connectivity to Liverpool is vital not just for the city but for the whole region and beyond."

Robert Hough, chairman of the City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "It is essential that we invest in infrastructure to achieve a rebalancing of our economy that will ultimately help our businesses grow and create jobs for our residents."

To support the campaign, visit highspeedrailliverpool.org.

Construction of HS2 is due to start in 2017 and be completed by 2025.

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