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HS2 reveals £7.9bn in contracts awarded to 2,000 businesses

HS2 Ltd says construction of the high-speed, North-South rail link is helping to keep over 2,000 UK businesses afloat.

Latest figures from HS2 show tier two subcontracts totalling £7.9bn have been awarded to over 2,000 UK-based companies, with SMEs securing £3.6bn worth of orders – a 45% share.

Companies like Walsall-based Altrad RMD Kwikform have been named amongst the suppliers.

Managing director Mark Pickford explained how its HS2 contract wins had supported growth during a difficult economic period. 

“Working on HS2 has given our business a timely boost, allowing us to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic and giving us the impetus to invest in our people and hire more staff,” he said.

“We’ve worked on various parts of the project, securing multiple contracts over the last few years on sites in London, the Colne Valley and now in Birmingham, where we’re helping to construct the viaduct that will bring high speed trains into the city centre. 

“With years of construction still to go, we’re confident that our work on HS2 will continue to bring stability, prosperity and growth to the business.”

The data revealed by HS2 Ltd shows companies in Greater London received the lion’s share of the contracts, with awards totalling more than £1.74bn, closely followed by the East Midlands, where companies were awarded more than £1.72bn worth of work.

In the South East, more than £1.25bn was awarded to businesses by HS2 Ltd, with just under £1.1bn going to contractors in the East of England and more than £235m going to the South West.

In the North, North East businesses benefited from more than £668m worth of contracts, the North West more than £277m while Yorkshire businesses received more than £255m.

HS2 contracts have also been awarded in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, totalling £92,379,000, £38,682,000 and £173,379,000 respectively.

Ruth Todd, Chief Commercial Officer at HS2 Ltd, said: “We’re working with specialist businesses and suppliers from across the UK to deliver Britain’s new high speed, low carbon railway. 

“These firms are providing world-leading consultancy services, engineering solutions and products, with many going on to secure multiple contracts.

"Given the size and longevity of HS2, we’re able to provide businesses with a lasting pipeline of work, which is boosting confidence and prompting investment despite the challenging economic climate.”

Firms of all sizes have stepped up to deliver, with £1.9bn worth of work awarded to medium sized businesses (50-250 employees), £677million to small businesses (11-49 employees) and just over £1bn to micro businesses (1-10 employees).

Karen Woolley, Development Manager at Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: “It is encouraging to see in black and white HS2’s level of spend with SMEs, which demonstrates the much-needed levelling of the playing field that the FSB has been calling for. 

“At a time when trading conditions are quite possibly at the most challenging they have been for many years, smaller firms having the opportunity of accessing contracts with such an important infrastructure project as HS2 can provide that much needed boost to a company’s economic productivity, whilst also securing jobs and providing for economic stability.” 

Rail Minister Huw Merriman said the figures demonstrated the significant opportunities HS2 offers to UK businesses and supply chains. 

“Not only is it transforming services on our railways, but it’s creating new opportunities for growth and supporting thousands of high-skilled jobs right across the country,” he said.

At the same time as supporting businesses of all sizes, the HS2 Community and Environment Fund has been supporting organisations like Samuel Lithgow Youth Centre (SLYC), located in the Regents Park Estate in Camden.

This week, it was announced SLYC had received a £45,920 HS2 grant to support the Women's Fitness Project (WFP), enabling it to operate for the next three years.

Expressing his thanks, Paulo Pires, centre manager at SLYC, said: “With this funding, we will be able to continue to deliver this very successful project and benefit over 200 women, who will improve their fitness and well-being and will make new friends every time they attend the activities.”

HS2 has published details of over 900 contracts awarded to its Tier 2 suppliers, and businesses are encouraged to reach out directly to discuss the opportunities this could present for them.

For information and advice about becoming an HS2 supplier, read HS2’s Supplier Guide. 

If you would like to contact Sarah Walker about this, or any other story, please email sarah@infrastructure-intelligence.com.