The building of the controversial HS2 rail link will support 4,000 more jobs than previously expected, the government has today said.
According to a new report from the body behind the project, HS2 will now support 34,000 jobs in total.
Of the new roles, Phase 2a – linking the West Midlands to Crewe – will require 6,500, 1,500 more than had been forecast.
HS2 minister Andrew Stephenson welcomed the report, saying: “HS2 will be a spark for new jobs and economic growth as we build back better from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I’m delighted to announce that the project is now expected to support thousands more jobs than previously forecast. The section from Birmingham-Crewe alone is due to deliver 6,500 jobs, creating valuable new opportunities and an enduring skills legacy.”
In its report, HS2 said that the new forecasts took into account “the impact of other major infrastructure projects, a new workforce migration regime introduced following the UK’s exit from the European Union, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic”.
The report covers phases 1 and 2a of the project, but not 2b, the extensions from Crewe to Manchester and Birmingham to Leeds.
In recent days there have been reports that the latter leg is set to be axed in a bid to cut the costs of the rail link.
Work on the eastern leg was halted last month, with estimates that scrapping the extension could save £40bn.
Critics have warned that taking such a step would undermine Boris Johnson’s election pledge to “level up” the whole of the UK.
It is expected that the fate of the leg will be revealed in the long-awaited Integrated Rail Plan, which was due to be published back in January.