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Small firms yet to be convinced on HS2 benefits


The survey, which received 260 responses from small businesses across Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, highlights that 87% of SMEs felt their business would not benefit from the creation of HS2.
Furthermore, 75% of businesses said they would not use HS2 for business purposes at all.
Many local SMEs also highlighted dismay at the idea of funds being diverted away from local transport upgrades, citing that an improvement in the existing rail network would be far more beneficial.
Other key findings from the research highlighted that 88% of respondents did not think HS2 would make them more likely to seek business in Manchester, Leeds or Birmingham and 92% were of the view that HS2 would not provide them with greater opportunities to recruit high calibre staff to their business.
FSB South Buckinghamshire branch chair Linda Walton said: “While there are likely to be mixed views about HS2 across the country, the views of small businesses in Buckinghamshire are loud and clear – they are not convinced of the benefits of HS2.
“The reason our local members oppose the project is not due to ‘nimbyism’ but because they do not feel the business case that has been presented to them is robust enough and that greater financial benefits could be gained by considering alternatives.”
Her Oxfordshire branch counterpart Margaret Coles added: “Given some 57% of survey respondents in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire felt HS2 would have no overall impact on their business – a high proportion of firms, given the projected spend on the project – FSB Thames Valley urges government not only to carry out a robust and transparent review of HS2 and its alternatives but also asks that it consults with small businesses in the area further, before final decisions to approve and commence the project are made.”
The Federation of Small Businesses (Thames Valley) has submitted its findings to the Department for Transport for consideration as part of the government’s consultation process on HS2.

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