In answer to a parliamentary written question from Cheryl Gillan MP, the transport minister Simon Burns has revealed exactly how many people are currently employed on HS2 – and how many more are expected to be employed in the coming years:
“HS2 Ltd currently directly employs the equivalent of 246 full-time members of the staff, by the end of 2013 this is expected to rise to over 500 full-time members of the staff. In addition, HS2 Ltd employs the equivalent of over 1,200 full-time contractors and a further 118 members of staff at the HS2 Ltd development partner. To date, HS2 Ltd’s contractors have enabled over 800 graduate trainees and apprentices to work on the project.
“We expect HS2 Phase One to directly create 9,000 jobs in construction and 1,500 permanent jobs in operations and maintenance. Up to 30,000 indirect jobs are also expected to be supported by HS2 in station redevelopment areas in Euston, Old Oak Common, Birmingham Interchange and Birmingham Eastside.
“We expect HS2 Phase Two to directly create 10,000 jobs in construction and 1,400 permanent jobs in operations and maintenance. In addition, up to 70,000 indirect jobs will be supported around the proposed stations.
“Some regional groups foresee even higher levels of job creation. The Core Cities group predict that HS2 will actually underpin the delivery of 400,000 jobs within the cities and 1 million in the wider urban areas. Centro estimate that, in the West Midlands alone, HS2 could support a £1.5 billion increase in economic output, an extra 22,000 jobs and an average wage increase of £300 per worker per year.”
By way of some comparison, the Highways Agency (which runs the strategic road network carrying more than a third of all traffic) annual report shows that for the financial year 2011-12 it employed 3,512 permanent and temporary members of staff excluding contractors and consultants.