Leading contractors including VolkerWessels, Galliford Try, Henry Boot and Miller are among the signatories to a letter demanding urgent high speed rail investment.
In a letter to the Financial Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian today, prominent business leaders from construction firms, chambers of commerce, Network Rail and BAA are among those calling for investment in high speed rail.
A decision on whether to proceed with the £17bn London to Birmingham HS2 link is expected this month after it was put back last month while the government considered introducing a 1.5-mile tunnel under the Chiltern Hills.
The total cost of the scheme, which could eventually be extended to Manchester, Leeds and Scotland, is expected to be £32bn.
The letter states: “The United Kingdom has a massive infrastructure deficit, estimated at £3,500 billion over the next decade, lagging significantly behind our closest trade partners in northern Europe, such as France and Germany. This places British business at a competitive disadvantage.
“Other world-class economies such as Japan and France have several thousand miles of high-speed rail track, while China plans to build nearly 10,000 miles of high-speed lines.
“But with only 70 miles of high-speed rail track, the United Kingdom lumbers behind countries such as Morocco with 422 miles and Saudi Arabia with 342.
“The absence of a high-speed rail line, connecting the northern parts of Britain to London and the European Union, is a continuous embarrassment to British businesses promoting the UK overseas.”
Signatories include Henry Boot Construction managing director Simon Carr; Volkerwessels UK chief financial officer Naomi Connell; Galliford Try Construction business development manager Paul Cook and Miller Construction chief executive Chris Webster.
The letter calls on the government to approve plans for HS2 and to push ahead with its construction ‘as soon as possible’.