Small Business, Big Benefits
Director of Aeolian & 20 Miles More
Small businesses in the Liverpool City Region no longer have small ambitions. My business, Aeolian, although having fewer than 10 employees provides strategic IT consultancy to global companies like the Shell, with over 92,000 employees.
The Internet and has greatly helped with this – conference calls and live meetings mean we can work efficiently but not be in the same city let alone office. However, building business requires trust and relationships, and that requires meeting people. I need to meet customers, predominantly outside of the City Region: in London, across the North and in Europe.
Liverpool does suffer from poor rail connections. We are the only major English city with just one train per hour throughout the day to London and we have precious few direct services to other UK cities. If Liverpool is to remain competitive, then we need excellent rail links to the UK’s major cities and also to Manchester Airport.
That’s why HS2 is such an important issue for small businesses like mine. If Liverpool were linked to HS2 then we would have faster, more frequent services to London and Birmingham. Any Liverpool link would almost certainly be the start of an HS3 network, linking us to Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and beyond; that’s a market of over 14 million customers and skilled employees. It could also provide a super-fast link to Manchester Airport, linking Liverpool to even more international destinations.
We all know that we can’t rely on roads. Congestion makes travel times excessive and unreliable and it’s a problem that is only going get worse. I find trains a more productive form of travel as I can catch up on work whilst on the move.
Getting a high-speed rail link would greatly boost our local prosperity, by around £400m a year. It would bring 26,000 additional jobs and 20,000 more residents; a massive boost to local businesses.
That’s why I’m in favor of Liverpool being directly linked to the high-speed rail network and back the call for 20 Miles More.