Make UK comment on HS2/Advanced British Standard

Commenting on the scrapping of HS2, Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive of Make UK, said:

“Whilst the announcement of investment in Northern transport infrastructure is important and very welcome, the decision to end HS2 in Birmingham is deeply frustrating as this should not have been a binary choice. The strategic benefits of linking up London, Birmingham and Manchester was not simply about passenger transport, but about creating substantial new capacity for the movement of goods and freight on today’s over-stretched network. Failing to invest for the future is something we are likely to regret in the longer term.

More importantly, the decision today sends a hugely disappointing message about our commitment to completing major infrastructure projects in the UK. For too long we have lagged behind our competitors in the investment we make in road, rail, ports, airport capacity and energy production and supply. If we are to make up that shortfall it is vital that the UK not only has a detailed, ambitious and funded Industrial Strategy, but that we commit to delivering these projects in full, and not giving up when the job is half finished. The signal that this sends to potential investors could not be clearer.”

Commenting on the Advanced British Standard, Stephen Phipson added:

“Driving up the quality of education and giving the same parity of esteem to vocational learning as academic pathways is critical. However, the creation of a new qualification risks muddling the waters further. Instead of introducing a new qualification or standard, Government should focus on making T levels work and getting apprenticeship starts back to the levels since before the introduction of the Levy. With starts in manufacturing around 38% lower, the Prime Minister has missed a major opportunity to fix this flawed system.”