Thousands of contracts are tied to the £60 billion HS2 high speed rail project, 60% of which are expected to go to small-and-medium-sized suppliers.
The organisers of the controversial project have said that because it will require such a wide range of goods and services smaller businesses are likely to receive the lion’s share of the regional programme’s contracts.
The Government is eager to spread the business benefits of the HS2 project as small business organisations have been lobbying for SMEs to have a larger role in carrying out the scheme. In fact, almost a third of businesses in a poll of 700 published in the latest quarterly Close Brothers Business Barometer said the link would have a positive effect for them while 12% hope to win contracts.
Other surveys covering small businesses in the Birmingham region and the north west, however, showed that many did not see any benefit.
The first £10bn-worth of construction projects will be awarded later this year in the run-up to the start of work on the Euston-Birmingham leg in 2017. The second and larger phase of the project will see the line extended from Birmingham to Manchester, the East Midlands, Sheffield and Leeds.