Conservative Diary

« Michael Gove and Tim Loughton overhaul "politically correct" adoption guidance to get children into "loving homes" more quickly | Main | The new 10 Downing Street »

Sixty-nine business and trade leaders back Hammond's hi-speed rail plan

Tim Montgomerie

One of the most defining events in the election campaign was the letter from business leaders - including from blue chip names M&S and Next - backing George Osborne on National Insurance. In an age when the politician is less and less trusted the endorsement of third party groups can be worth its weight in gold.

HAMMOND PHILIP In tomorrow's FT 69 business leaders and other opinion formers have signed this letter (£) backing Philip Hammond's pre-consultation plan for a high-speed rail network to connect north and south:

"Sir, We believe the government is right to develop a new high-speed rail line linking the major cities in the Midlands, the north and London. A high-speed rail link will give the economy a much-needed boost, particularly in the north and Midlands.

Not only will a high-speed rail link create capacity and reduce journey times, it will also improve connections between airports, help commuter services and free up space on existing lines to carry more freight. All this will provide significant help for British business and attract additional investment."

My guess is that the Transport Secretary was behind a letter whose signatories include the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, National Express, Morrison Supermarkets, Manchester Airports Group, the CBI, Hitachi, British Chambers of Commerce, Argent, Eurotunnel, Siemens, United Utilities, BAe, Grant Thornton, Nomura, BAA, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Aslef (!), North East Chamber of Commerce, John Lewis and Willie Walsh.

You do not have to agree with the HiSpeed rail plan to understand the value of such a letter. It would be much easier to sell a range of controversial projects - including the NHS reforms - if departmental ministers were organising trusted third party groups to get behind them in a variety of ways.

> FT report (£)


You must be logged in using Intense Debate, Wordpress, Twitter or Facebook to comment.