George Morran, LWM’s vice-chair, looks at the economic and political issues raised by High Speed 2:  

Economically the proposal is based on the premise that our economic future has to be dependent on London and competitive advantage in a globalised economy driven by credit.

This is the global model of economic development which has underpinned Westminster/Whitehall’s approach for decades.

This approach has seen the outsourcing of productive capacity and jobs from the West Midlands which culminated in the recent withdrawal of credit and massive loss of productive capacity, loss of jobs and increase in the number of people who are unemployed in our region.

Sadly many of our local and regional leaders have gone along with this failed approach.

HS2 also means that the future of the West Midlands and elsewhere in the UK, particularly England, outside London, will continue to be dependent on and controlled by London, especially the politico-business-media complex centred on Whitehall and Westminster.

We need:

  • the proposed investment to fund a shift in our economy from the global to the local, the creation of a regional economy which is more sustainable and local – one whose shape is not determined by London, New York, Tokyo or Beijing.
  • a radical shift of power, downsizing of Westminster and Whitehall, transfer of political power and representation to the regions and a more local Local Government.
  • a new constitutional settlement in which a democratically accountable regional and local Government is empowered to determine the use of resources – aimed at a more localised and sustainable West Midlands.

We need a new leadership which thinks local.