Mick Whelan signs HS2 Guardian letter

06 January 2012

ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan is one of the co-signatories of a letter in today’s Guardian which urges government approval for the High Speed Two (HS2) link between London and Birmingham and eventually Leeds and Manchester. Along with other union leaders, Mick argues that rising unemployment the country urgently needs to invest in the country’s infrastructure – and the social and business advantages of HS2 make it an obvious project to back.

The government is due to make a final announcement on the £32bn scheme early next week. Justine Greening is expected to give the green light to the London to Birmingham stage, although with a changed route after fierce opposition from Conservative-voting constituencies in the Chiltern Hills. The launch date for this is likely to be 2026, ten years after building begins, with a possible second phase linking Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds following six years later.

As well as Mick, other union leaders signing the Guardian letter were Bob Crow (RMT), Manuel Cortes (TSSA), Len McCluskey (Unite) and Frances O'Grady (TUC). The letter includes, ‘As representatives of workers across the rail industries, we welcome the thousands of construction and engineering jobs that HS2 will immediately bring to the UK economy, as well as the jobs it will create in the long-term within the rail industry.’

Mick says the ‘green option’ alone makes a challenging case for expanding our railways, and urges the government to think again about the ‘obvious’ advantages of extending the high-speed track to Scotland.

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