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Construction News Barometer reveals growing support for HS2 among industry leaders

More than three-quarters of leaders at the UK’s biggest contractors support the business case for High Speed 2, according to results from the Construction News Barometer for Q2 2014.

Asked whether they support the business case for HS2, 76 per cent of Barometer respondents said they did, compared with just 19 per cent who said they did not.

Thirty-eight per cent said they expected to benefit a “significant amount” from HS2, while the same number percentage expect to benefit “a little”. Sixty-three per cent of respondents said they worked in the rail sector.

Barometer in numbers


of leaders have seen more than one supplier stop trading on a project in the last year


felt Scottish independence would have little/no effect on them


said lack of skills/staff was their biggest concern for the next 12 months


said they wanted greater government emphasis on energy

For the full results, see the attached file

This is the fourth quarterly Construction News Barometer to be carried out. In the first, completed in Q3 2013, just 48 per cent of respondents said they supported HS2.

The scheme was in the spotlight again last week after around 2,000 petitions citing concerns about the scheme were lodged with the HS2 select committee by parties including commercial developers, the mayor of London and the Church of England.

Writing on this week, Pinsent Masons partner Robbie Owen said the government would try to reach agreements with petitioners but others will go before the new select committee, which is “charged with hearing all of the petitions that have been deposited”.

He said the equivalent House of Commons select committee on the Crossrail Bill - the last hybrid bill before this one - was in existence for 22 months and there are twice as many HS2 petitioners as there were for Crossrail.

Asked what the government should invest in instead of HS2 should it choose to do so, almost half (49 per cent) of respondents said transport, while 24 per cent said utilities.

Ninety-three per cent said they believe the UK is a world leader for health and safety in the construction industry.

Asked to rank the top three challenges facing businesses today, respondents said skills shortages (90 per cent), low tender prices (65 per cent) and materials costs (33 per cent) were their primary concerns.

The Construction News Barometer is a survey sent to chief executives, chairmen and senior directors of the top 100 contractors in the UK, ranked according to turnover.

The survey contained a total of 20 questions and was open from 7 May until 26 May. It was completed by 45 industry leaders.

Related files

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