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6 November 2013 | Gurjit Degun
The new high-speed railway will test the UK supply chain “like never before”, the transport minister has declared.
Speaking at the HS2 Supply Chain Conference in Birmingham yesterday, Patrick McLoughlin said HS2 will drive growth in the UK supply chain. He explained Britain has not done “anything as ambitious as HS2” for 50 years.
“A key part of the challenge is to ensure we have the specific skills required for HS2,” McLoughlin told the conference. “It will test our supply chain like never before. So we need to make the most of the skills we already have. And as suppliers gain experience with technically innovative projects overseas, we need to bring those skills home. To train apprentices. To make sure HS2 reflects the very highest design and manufacturing standards. And to drive down cost.
“More than £10 billion in HS2 contracts is up for grabs. It’s a guaranteed flow of investment sustained over decades: a commitment by the government to help the industry further build its capabilities, which will ultimately help you compete for more global contracts in the future.”
McLoughlin said the government is helping businesses with Construction 2025, which was announced over the summer. It is a long-term partnership between government and the construction industry to help British companies win overseas contracts.
He also mentioned the Rail Industry Supply Chain Forum, which aims to help British businesses in the railway industry win work in the UK and abroad.
“In the face of stiff competition from countries like France and Germany, the UK rail supply chain has struggled to grow in recent years,” McLoughlin added. “So the Forum will bring together UK suppliers and government to help our industry fight back.”