Osborne invites Chinese firms to bid for HS2 contracts

George Osborne has urged Chinese firms to bid to build HS2, the UK’s proposed new high-speed rail network.

Speaking at an event in Chengdu, China the Chancellor invited Chinese companies to bid for at least seven new contracts worth upto £11.8bn.

The bidding process, which has been launched ahead of parliamentary approval for the project, will see companies pitch for seven major civil works contracts along the Phase 1 route of the proposed railway, which will run from London to Birmingham.

Construction of Phase 1 is due to start in 2017, and when opened will slash the travel time between London and Birmingham from 1 hour 21 minutes, to 49 minutes.

According to the government the project is expected to create upto 25,000 jobs during construction and 3,000 when up and running.

Osborne made the announcement at an event aimed at wooing some of China’s biggest investors to be part of the project as well as a raft of other major UK infrastructure projects.

It follows the news earlier this week that the UK is to guarantee £2bn of Chinese investment in the Hinkley Point C nuclear project.