The controversial £43bn High Speed 2 project will boost productivity by increasing ‘face time’, a senior figure has insisted.
Sir David Higgins, chairman of project promoter HS2 Ltd, said the rapid rail link from London to the North would allow more people to get together to spark profitable ideas.
Higgins, the former chief executive of the London 2012 Olympic Delivery Authority, was writing in NCE about the importance of HS2.
He said that quicker journeys between major cities would ramp up the amount of business that could be done in the UK.
“In a knowledge economy, what matters is face time,” he said.
“Wherever you look in the world we are travelling more, despite Facebook, despite Twitter, despite video conferencing. Why? Because when you are dealing with ideas – whether in the creative industries, high tech design, the law or finance – nothing beats the spontaneity of the moment.
“Anything that gets in the way of that face time is a dampener on that creative spark – a drag on productivity.”