SME survey highlights importance of HS2 Eastern Leg approval

The survey results revealed that among SMEs already working on SH2, 80.5 percent expected a drop in their income if the route from the West Midlands to Leeds did not continue.

Credit: HS2 Ltd

A recent survey of suppliers of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the rail, construction and engineering sectors found overwhelming support for the eastern section of HS2, with those currently working on HS2 contracts planning to serious impacts on their activities in the event of reduction.

The investigation – coordinated by the High Speed ​​Rail Group (HSRG) and the Railway Industry Association (RIA) – found that:

  • Of the SMEs already working on HS2, 80.5% expected a drop in their revenues if the West Midlands to Leeds section did not continue
  • Almost half (46.3%) responded that they would need to downsize
  • Almost a fifth (19.5%) said they would even consider entering other markets
  • Other SMEs that are not currently part of the HS2 supply chain responded with a two-to-one margin that they hoped to win a contract on the eastern section itself.

In addition to expressing overwhelming support for the whole HS2 , the survey found that HS2 has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on SMEs, with 61.5% hiring more staff and 69.2% investing more in the skills of their workforce as a direct result of their work about the project. More than eight in ten vendors also said they expected their business to grow by working on SH2, and nearly two-thirds saw their sales increase.

Almost all of the SMEs surveyed (96.1%) said that HS2 would be very or somewhat important for the future of their business and, among companies not yet working on HS2, more than nine in 10 said that winning a contract would be very or quite important to them.

Susan Ryall, Director of the High Speed ​​Rail Group, commented: “This industry survey shows how vital the entire HS2 is to small and medium-sized businesses – including the eastern section. SMEs are the lifeblood of our industry, and they are sounding the alarm bells about what the downsizing means to them. While 80% of SMEs foresee a drop in their income and half are likely to lay off staff, the government must seriously consider all the consequences for companies and workers of the reduction in HS2. “

Darren Caplan, Managing Director of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: “HS2 is essential for UK businesses of all sizes across the country, supporting jobs, investment and economic growth at a pivotal time for the economy. Delivery of the entire route, including the eastern section, will be vital. As the results of this survey show, any reduction in the comprehensive HS2 scheme would be a blow not only to future connectivity, but also to the many small and medium-sized businesses working to support the UK as the government seeks a better return. “Post-coronavirus”.

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