24 September, 2015: BBC News reported on George Osborne’s recent visit to China. Osbourne is urged Chinese firms to pitch for £11.8bn in construction contracts for the UK’s proposed HS2 rail line. On the same day, The Guardian reported that Osborne intends to invite competition for bids at an event in Chengdu. The aim is to attract Chinese investors to back HS2 and other major UK rail infrastructure projects, particularly across the north of England.
Osborne appears keen on “entering a golden era of cooperation” between the two countries. He cited the crucial need for businesses and communities from across the UK to gain benefits by forging closer economic ties with China. Osborne is also keen to gain investment in infrastructure projects for his Northern powerhouse plan. The latter represents a possible change of heart, given recent remarks about the pausing of major rail projects in the north.
Is this potential Chinese involvement, with the nation that pioneered railways, something that should be contemplated and welcomed?