HS2 in Hansard 28/01/2013

High Speed Rail

3.31 pm

The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Patrick

McLoughlin): With permission, Mr Speaker, I would

like to make a statement about our railways.

Investing in transport infrastructure is not a choice.

To create jobs and to rebalance our economy we need

better roads, better airports and better trains—and

High Speed 2 is a central part of that investment. It will

be an engine for growth throughout the country, which

is why I am today announcing our initial preferred

route north from Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester.

These new services will reach eight out of 10 of our

largest cities: Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester,

as well as Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle, Glasgow and

Edinburgh. In all, 18 cities and many more towns, too,

will be served by HS2 services. It will be completely

integrated with the existing rail network; it will bring

people and businesses together; it will create an estimated

100,000 jobs; and it has the backing of businesses and

cities across Britain. We will introduce legislation for

the first phase in this Parliament and legislate for the

second in the next one. Construction is set to begin in

2017 and the first trains will run in 2026. The second

phase will be open fully by 2033.

I would like to make three further points. The first is

about the need for the line. HS2 will be the first main

line to be built north of London for almost 120 years.

Some say we do not need another, but the truth is that

we are already good at squeezing the most out of our

present Victorian railway network—and yes, we will get

even more out of it in the coming years with the massive

investmentwe have already announced.We are electrifying

800 miles of track, and building Crossrail and the

northern hub upgrade. These will help to keep us going

for the next decade or two, but what then?

Rail passenger numbers have doubled over the last

15 years, and demand will keep growing. The west coast

main line is filling up. There is not enough space for all

the commuters, freight trains and inter-city trains that

need to use it. That iswhy, after very careful consideration,

I am publishing my initial preferences for phase 2 of

HS2. The case for going ahead rests on the capacity it

will provide and on the new connections it will create.

It is not just about faster trains to London, but about

changing the way in which our great cities work and

work with each other, providing easy links on journeys

that are difficult today, giving muscle to the economies

of the cities beyond London and producing an estimated

£2 in economic benefit for every £1 spent.

Frequently, colleagues in this House call for better

services to their local stations—they are right to ask for

them—and High Speed 2 is part of the solution. Creating

free space on existing routes will allow better services

to places such as Milton Keynes, and more trains for

commuters in areas such as Staffordshire, Leeds and

Manchester. I amdetermined to ensure that the benefits

of HS2 run much wider than the places directly served

by the new line.

Let me turn to my second point. The detail of the

route I am announcing today follows the Government’s

announcements last year about phase 1 between London

and Birmingham. On the western leg from Birmingham

to Manchester, I propose two new high-speed stations.

The first will be in the heart of Manchester, alongside

the existing station at Manchester Piccadilly, allowing

easy connections to places such as Salford, Stockport

and Bolton and a journey time to London of just one

hour eight minutes, down from over two hours today.

The second station will be at Manchester airport, giving

direct access to the wider Cheshire area.

HS2 will also serve Crewe via a dedicated link, and

high-speed trains will continue on the existing railway

to Liverpool,Warrington and Runcorn, which will also

benefit greatly from reduced journey times. Further

north, near Wigan, HS2 will connect with the west

coast main line. High-speed trains can then continue at

regular speeds to places such as Preston, Carlisle,Glasgow

and Edinburgh. I am working with counterparts in

Scotland on their aspirations for high-speed rail. I have

already set out a long-term ambition to get journeys to

Scotland below three hours.

Turning to the eastern leg, we will construct three

new stations to bring people and businesses in the east

midlands and Yorkshire closer to Birmingham, the

north-east and London. The east midlands station will

be located between Nottingham and Derby at Toton,

and links will be upgraded to provide fast access to

both. The second station will be at Sheffield Meadowhall,

which already has good connections that can be improved

further, allowing it to serve all of Sheffield and south

Yorkshire.

The third station will be located in the centre of

Leeds alongside the South Bank area. As with the

western leg, there will be a connection from HS2 on to

the existing rail network. A connection to the east coast

main line, just nine miles from York, will allow the

north-east to benefit, too, with London to York taking

just one hour 23 minutes and London to Newcastle just

two hours 18 minutes.

Finally, a decision on how best to serve Heathrow

will be taken after the outcome of the Airports Commission

has been considered by the Government. From day one,

however, HS2 will provide far faster journeys than now

via a major new interchange at Old Oak Common,

linking to the Great Western main line, Crossrail and

the Heathrow express.

The third point I want to make today is about design

and help for those most affected. Many hon. Members

want the Government to take that extremely seriously,

and we do. Although the line will benefit the country as

a whole, it will also create great anxiety among those

close to the proposed route. We will therefore consult

properly, design carefully and compensate fairly. Let me

stress that today I am announcing an initial preferred

route: this is the start of the process, not the end.We are

ready to listen, and ready to improve. I want this line to

create jobs and prosperity, not harmthem.Where businesses

may be affected, we will work with them to find a

solution. We will now begin a period of informal

consultation on phase 2 that will inform the official

public consultation, which was originally planned for

2014 but which, I can announce, will be brought forward

to this year. The aim is to reach a firm decision on the

route of phase 2 in 2014.

I understand how such proposals can affect property

markets. Compensation will therefore be as generous as

on the first phase, and more generous than when we

built the motorways. Today I am launching a public

consultation on the exceptional hardship scheme for

671 28 JANUARY 2013 High Speed Rail 672

those who must sell but cannot do so because of HS2.

Under this scheme we will pay the full price, valued as if

there were no HS2. That will be followed by the next

stage of our property compensation scheme once the

final route is confirmed.

There are not many issues on which political parties

in the House agree, but this is one of them. Regardless

of the nature of the Government when the first trains

run in 13 years’ time, what matters are the jobs, the

rebalancing of the economy, and our country’s future

prosperity. I commend this statement to the House.

3.40 pm

Maria Eagle (Garston and Halewood) (Lab): I thank

the Secretary of State for providing a copy of his

statement in advance.

As the Secretary of State was generous enough to say

in his foreword to the Government’s Command Paper,

which was published today, HS2 is a project that was

started by the last Government. Having successfully

built HS1, Britain’s first new railway line for more than

100 years, we were determined that the rest of the

country, not just the south-east, should benefit from

vital investment to increase capacity and reduce journey

times on our railway.

I assure the Secretary of State and the House that we

are 100% behind this project. We want to see the line

built, and we will continue to offer cross-party support,

which will include helping to ensure that the necessary

legislation reaches the statute book. I know that the

Secretary of State faces considerable challenges in securing

the support of colleagues on his side of the House. I

have spent much of today defending the project in

interviews opposite Conservative Members. I hope and

assume that the right hon. Gentleman’s lengthy experience

as Chief Whip will come in handy when it comes to

quelling the rebellions.

The reason why we need to build this new high-speed

railway line is clear: capacity. Our existing three main

routes between north and south are congested, and in

the case of the west coast line, nearly full. If we do not

act now, we will face even worse overcrowding. Doing

nothing is not an option. Continuing to patch and

mend our existing lines is no longer good enough, and

will not bring us the major reductions in journey times

that HS2 will deliver.

Given the importance of the scheme, I wonder whether

the Secretary of State appreciates the level of frustration

at the slowprogress made so far in the current Parliament.

The consultation on the first phase has been botched,

not by him, but in his Department. Submissions have

been lost, and the Government now face defeat in the

courts, which has the potential to take us back to square

one on the consultation. The draft route for the second

phase was finally set out only today, two and a half

years after the election. No legislation has been published.

Today’s Command Paper suggests that Royal Assent to

the Secretary of State’s first hybrid Bill will not be

achieved until some point in 2015, not by the time of

the next election as was previously intended. This scheme

is too important to be subject either to further delays or

to incompetence in the Department for Transport. I

hope that the Secretary of State will now do all that he

can both to speed up progress and to avoid any further

errors.

On the judicial review, will the Secretary of State update

the House on when he expects to receive a judgment,

and on the impact that a ruling against his Department

would have on the plans that he has set out today?

Let me now turn to the specific details of the route

announced by the Secretary of State. First, will the

right hon. Gentleman think again about his decision to

commit himself only to introducing legislation covering

the first phase of the line from London to Birmingham

in the current Parliament? Of course it is true that a

single Bill would need to await completion of the

consultation on the second phase of the route, but by

introducing the Bill later in this Parliament and carrying

it over to the next—as we did with the legislation for the

building of Crossrail—we would secure Parliament’s

approval for the whole route earlier than we would

under the Government’s plans. That would open up the

possibility of beginning construction in the north as

well as the south, which is something that the Transport

Committee has urged the Government to consider.

Secondly, will the Secretary of State look again at the

issue of connectivity between HS1 and HS2, which

many, including his own party’s Mayor of London and

alsoTransport for London, believe to be totally inadequate?

The proposal to make use of an existing part of the

North London line looks like a back-of-an-envelope fix

that is not focused on the long-term potential for

international rail travel. Surely we need to build a

dedicated, purpose-built link between HS1 and HS2.

I urge him to look at this again.

Thirdly, will the Secretary of State listen carefully to

the concerns that he will have heard today about the

decision not to connect HS2 with our major city centres

in some instances? I appreciate the difficulty, not least

in terms of engineering and cost, of taking a new rail

line into an existing major rail station and enabling

through services, yet the consequences of not doing so

are potentially economically to disadvantage city centres

and encourage out-of-town development; and passengers

losing much of the journey time savings achieved by

using the new line as they transfer to get to their city

centre destination. I know that there are differing views

on this from city to city, and there is no single right

answer, but the Secretary of State’s proposals today

make it clear that the recommendations are just “initial”

recommendations and I hope that that indicates a

willingness to continue a dialogue on these issues, not

least with the cities themselves.

Finally, will the Secretary of State accept that today’s

decision to kick into the long grass how HS2 will

connect to Heathrow is a major error? As he knows, our

preference, as a result of our policy review, is to take the

line direct via Heathrow. That was the Conservative

party’s position before the last election and I am sorry

that it no longer supports it. However, theGovernment’s

compromise of a spur was at least a recognition of the

need to provide a direct link to Heathrow from HS2.

Abandoning that today sets back the potential for HS2

to deliver transfer traffic to our hub airport via high-speed

rail rather than short-haul flights, an approach that has

the potential to free up valuable slots that could be used

for new long-haul flights to serve emerging markets.

The Secretary of State says that that decision has

been taken because the Davies commission on aviation

will not report back before 2015. Surely the answer is

not to delay decisions on HS2 but to speed them up on

673 High Speed Rail 28 JANUARY 2013 High Speed Rail 674

[Maria Eagle]

aviation. Will the Government finally accept that 2015

is far too late to have an answer to our longer-term

aviation capacity needs?Will he agree to our call for the

commission to produce its final report way in advance

of 2015, enabling cross-party talks on a way forward

that can be put to people at the next election? That

would deliver the certainty needed not just for aviation,

but on the route for HS2.

I hope that the Secretary of State will consider those

four issues in the spirit in which they are raised.We seek

to improve the Government’s proposals, because it is

vital that we get this right if all the benefits we all seek

are to be realised.

Mr McLoughlin: May I start by thanking the hon.

Lady for the support that she gives, in principle, to the

project? I fully accept that HS1 was finished by the

previous Government, but if we needed to get into a

debating argument, I could say that it was started by the

previous ConservativeGovernment,who had the foresight

to say how important it would be. Anyone who uses

St Pancras station will have seen what a vast difference

has been made to that station since HS1. It used to be

a station that nobody wanted to go to, but now it is a

destination in itself. I wanted to make that particular

point first.

The hon. Lady raised a number of points. She said

that I will have certain strong voices against me on this

side of the House, but I dare say—I know this from

some of the letters I have received fromLabourMembers—

there will be some vocal opponents on her side of the

House too. We will see how the debate goes, but that is

the case. She also asked me to speculate on what might

happen in the judicial review. I may have been in the

Whips Office for 17 years, but I amnot prepared to start

speculating from the Dispatch Box on what the courts

may or may not say. We will wait to hear what is said,

because a judicial review has taken place. I believe that

the Government have acted properly in the way this has

gone forward, but we will wait to see what happens

on that.

The hon. Lady talked about how some cities are

disappointed not to have stations directly in the city

centre. As I said in my statement, this is the start of the

process and not the end of it, but I say to her that HS2 is

not just about serving cities; it is about serving the

regions, and so this goes a lot wider than just the cities.

Some cities will have a station in them, because of the

way in which things have been constructed and the way

in which we can engineer into them. In certain other

areas the engineering is much more difficult and a lot

more expensive, but as I have said, we will of course

listen. I have engaged with the city leaders—I know that

some of them will be disappointed that I have not been

able to say to those cities exactly where the route has

gone until today—and so that process is there.

The hon. Lady talks about having a greater link

between HS1 and HS2, and I am certainly prepared—I

have received representations from the right hon. Member

for East Ham (Stephen Timms), who is sitting directly

behind her—to look at how that can be done. However,

it is true to say that, even as presently announced, HS2

will be able to serve areas of the continent direct if there

is a demand and need for that.

The hon. Lady made the point about Heathrow. The

Government have set up a commission to try to get a

consensus.We have awelcome consensus on HS2—crossparty

consensus on big infrastructure projects is a

tremendous advantage because of the time that such

projects naturally take. However, it is right to see what

the Davies commission says.

The hon. Lady’s final point was to ask whether we

could hold the project off and bring the measures

together in one Bill. That would lead to a tremendous

delay. There would not just be a delay while we consulted,

but a delay while the environmental assessment was

conducted and consulted on. Far from making the

process quicker, it would be delayed; I estimate that it

would mean we probably could not have a Bill ready

until 2018. I want a Bill to begin its progress in this

Parliament. Of course, how the Bill progresses is up to

Parliament.

Mrs Cheryl Gillan (Chesham and Amersham) (Con):

Today, Mr Speaker, thousands of people will be faced

with the blight and uncertainty that you and I are

familiar with, because our constituents across

Buckinghamshire have suffered it for nearly four years.

If the Government are determined to have HS2 and to

force it through, and as the Secretary of State has

stressed that the economic need is greater in the north,

why not really reconsider and start HS2 in the north so

that the benefits are more immediate and the connectivity

to the south-east and on to global markets through the

as yet undecided hub airport can be better guaranteed

and integrated? Would not that make more common

sense?

Mr McLoughlin: I know how my right hon. Friend

feels on this subject, and I appreciate how Members

whose constituencies have the line going through them

have strong representations tomake in the House.However,

starting the route in the north, on which, up until today,

work had not been done, would not be a better way of

getting greater connectivity and connections.We should

bear in mind that the routes I have said are overcrowded

are even more overcrowdedwhen they come into London,

which is where we need the extra capacity in the first

instance.

Frank Dobson (Holborn and St Pancras) (Lab): The

Secretary of State has said that he will ensure that

people are compensated fairly. In December 2010, his

predecessor said exactly the same thing about the people

in my constituency who are affected by the first phase.

However, at a meeting on Thursday in my constituency,

officials from HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport

made it crystal clear to many people living near Euston

station, including some of those who had exercised

their right to buy their council flats, that they would not

be fully compensated, and that others, including people

whose businesses will be totally destroyed, will not be

compensated at all. Can we rely on the Secretary of

State to ensure that, when he says one thing in the

House of Commons, his officials do not set it aside in

the country?

Mr McLoughlin: I believe the Under-Secretary of

State for Transport, my hon. Friend the Member for

Lewes (Norman Baker), gave the right hon. Gentleman

an assurance on that point last Friday. I am certainly

675 High Speed Rail 28 JANUARY 2013 High Speed Rail 676

prepared to meet the right hon. Gentleman to discuss

these matters and to try and clear up what confusion

there seems to be.

Sir Alan Haselhurst (Saffron Walden) (Con): In view

of the continued drift from north to south, which has

been a characteristic of this country for many decades,

and which places enormous pressure on services and

facilities in constituencies such as mine, should not HS2

be hailed as the most dramatic attempt yet to correct

that national imbalance to the advantage of the country

as a whole?

Mr McLoughlin: When HS2 is fully up and built, it

will have a major impact on the north and will help

dramatically to rebalance the economy, which is so

desperately needed. I amgrateful formy right hon.Friend’s

support.

Helen Jones (Warrington North) (Lab): Is the Secretary

of State aware that there is great concern inWarrington

because it will not get an HS2 station? Warrington has

developed its economy based on its good transport

links, but we are unsure whether trains running on the

existing line from Crewe will be sufficient. There is also

concern that the line that will join the west coast main

line at Wigan goes through parts of my constituency

along a linear park, so we get the disruption without the

benefits. Will he undertake to work with Warrington

borough council and other interested parties to consider

alternatives so that Warrington can benefit from HS2?

Mr McLoughlin: Of course, I am prepared to do that

and I am sure thatWarrington council will want to take

part in the consultation I announced today.Warrington

will be served in the same way as Liverpool and other

areas, such as Wigan, but of course I will consider the

hon. Lady’s representations. I want to make it clear that

today is the start of the process, not the end. It is,

however, the start of a very important and beneficial

process for the United Kingdom.

MrAlanReid (Argyll and Bute) (LD): Liberal Democrats

verymuchwelcome the announcement today that journey

times to Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh

will be reduced by almost an hour. I also welcome the

Secretary of State’s aspiration to reduce the journey

time to Scotland to three hours.How are his discussions

with the Scottish Government about that aspiration

going?

Mr McLoughlin: I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I

announced my proposals for Scotland last October, but

I have been concentrating on the proposals I have set

out today for the moment. However, my right hon.

Friend the Minister of State spoke to members of the

Scottish Government about the scheme and they are

keen to be involved.

Mrs Louise Ellman (Liverpool, Riverside) (Lab/Co-op):

I welcome today’s statement, which represents important

investment for the future, but will the Secretary of State

confirm that that will be part of investment in an

integrated national rail system so that areas that are not

on the high-speed line will benefit, too?

Mr McLoughlin: Indeed I can. I am grateful to the

Chairman of the Select Committee on Transport, who I

know will probably want to carry out a detailed inquiry

into this matter. Although it is true that some areas are

not covered by high-speed rail at the moment, it will go

up to Birmingham in the first instance and then to

Manchester, and journeys will be able to carry on from

there, as they do in Kent on the line that goes down to

Ashford.

Sir Roger Gale (North Thanet) (Con): Thank you,

Mr Speaker; your calling me was timely. My right hon.

Friend is to be congratulated on having the courage and

conviction to seek to drive through investment in this

country’s infrastructure future. The hon. Member for

Garston and Halewood (Maria Eagle) sought to take

the credit for High Speed 1, but the problem with that is

that it is not finished at all. Will my right hon. Friend,

while he is doing all this, ensure that HS1 runs through

from Ashford to Thanet?

Mr McLoughlin: My hon. Friend sees the advantage

of high-speed rail down to certain parts of Kent and

wants to extend it. I am sure that he will carry on

making that case, but at the moment I hope he will

forgive me for saying that I want to try to concentrate

on the plans I have announced today, although we are

always looking to improve services across the country.

Paul Blomfield (Sheffield Central) (Lab): The Secretary

of State is right:what matters are the jobs.An independent

study conducted for SouthYorkshire passenger transport

executive and Sheffield city council shows that a station

in the city centre would bring up to £5 billion more into

the local economy than a station at Meadowhall and

would create 6,500 more jobs. Will the Secretary of

State commit to keeping an open mind on that option?

MrMcLoughlin: I said at the beginning of my statement

that I would keep an open mind. I accept the points

about Sheffield and I knowthat there will be disappointment

that HS2 is not going directly into the city centre. We

have tried to ensure that we serve the whole of the

region through the Meadowhall station, but as I have

said, today is the start of the process and we will enter

into discussions, as I have told the leader of Sheffield

city council, with all the prominent leaders in the area.

Mr Graham Brady (Altrincham and SaleWest) (Con):

I warmly endorse the proposed station at Manchester

airport, but may I also stress the importance of the

point that compensation for those living close to the

route should be not only generous but creative in ensuring

that we can move as quickly as possible towards realising

the new high-speed rail route?

Mr McLoughlin: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for

that question. We are consulting on compensation, and

at the moment we are part of the way through that

consultation. He makes an extremely important point,

and I am glad that he welcomes the fact that we will

serve Manchester airport as well as Manchester.

Mr Dennis Skinner (Bolsover) (Lab): Would it not

make a lot more sense for the Secretary of State to tell

the Chancellor that he ought to be spending £33 billion

straight away on capital projects—housing and all the

677 High Speed Rail 28 JANUARY 2013 High Speed Rail 678

[Mr Dennis Skinner]

rest? As for Derbyshire, why is it that the preferred route

seems to travel to the heavily populated eastern side of

Derbyshire? I do not think it touches Derbyshire Dales

at all. How many homes will be blighted as a result?

Mr McLoughlin: Many things can change—people in

the Whips Office can become Ministers—but one thing

is certain: the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr Skinner)

will come out with the same arguments against any

proposals. [Interruption.] He wants us to spend money

now.We are spending money now.We have had massive

investment in the railways and we have announced

massive investment in the railways. He points out that

the route does not go through my constituency. I am

well aware of that, but I can assure him that I took very

careful advice and followed the recommendations. The

sustainability summary goes into great detail about why

that particular part of the route was chosen. There are

many people who would have liked it to go to Derby.

Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire) (Con): I

declare an interest. Plans unveiled this morning suggest

that the preferred route of HS2 will pass within 100 feet

of my family’s home in North West Leicestershire. Can

my right hon. Friend confirm the level of consultation

already undertaken by those planning the HS2 route?

East Midlands airport in my constituency was unaware

until this morning’s announcement that a tunnel was

planned under its site, and a developer of an area north

of the airport looking to produce a rail freight interface

was equally not consulted. The route puts in jeopardy a

potential £450 million private sector investment now in

my constituency, and the creation of up to 7,000 new

jobs.

Mr McLoughlin: There is always a dilemma for us as

to who we talk to and consult. It would have been

wrong of me to start telling people where the route was

going before I had laid the documents before Parliament

this morning. We will start that consultation. If my

hon. Friend has had a chance to look at the sustainability

summary that goes with the document I published

today, he will have seen on page 70 that the area he is

talking about is marked for tunnelling under East Midlands

airport, and the east midlands gateway rail freight

interchange development site is clearly marked. We will

obviously work with developers to minimise the impact

wherever we can.

John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington) (Lab): The

decision to delay the recommendations on the Heathrow

spur until the Howard Davies commission has reported

means that my constituents face at least another two

years of uncertainty. Is not one solution to bring forward

the Davies report, as my hon. Friend the Member for

Garston and Halewood (Maria Eagle) suggested? Even

if the Davies commission’s interim report this year dealt

with the matter, we would have more certainty about

the connection with Heathrow.

Mr McLoughlin: I hear what the hon. Gentleman

says. I have made clear the Government’s position as to

why we have done what we have done. We think it is a

sensible way to go but I am sure he will make those

representations in the consultation process.

Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con): Although I accept

the need for an additional line to relieve capacity on the

rail network, this route plunges through rural Britain,

and rural Staffordshire, and should use existing transport

corridors. It blights the environment, homes and lives.

Does my right hon. Friend understand that what my

constituents and all our constituents need is certainty,

so that they understand the impact the line will have,

what vibrations it will produce and what the visual

impact will be? Most important of all, they need certainty

about what compensation they will receive.

Mr McLoughlin: Part of the reason for bringing

forward the consultation period from next year to this

year is to help my hon. Friend’s constituents, but I fully

accept that where the line is going is inconvenient to

some people. We cannot build a brand-new railway line

and not upset anybody. We believe that it is very much

in the national interest and in the interests of the United

Kingdom.

Mr Gerry Sutcliffe (Bradford South) (Lab): It was a

great pleasure to see the Secretary of State and the

Prime Minister on platform 6 at Leeds station this

morning. He knows the benefits of HS2 to areas such as

Leeds and Bradford. This is a long-term project and

there are two projects in the short term that will help

both Leeds and Bradford—the links to the airport so

that it can expand and theWortley curve between Leeds

and Bradford. Will he look at those projects as well?

Mr McLoughlin: It was a pleasure also to see the hon.

Gentleman this morning. I hope that as a result of

having announced in this way where the route will go,

improvements can be achieved in the interim period in

some of these areas. I have talked to Leeds city council

about the site that we have earmarked, and it is, as I

understand it, content with it.

Andrea Leadsom (South Northamptonshire) (Con):

The consultation on compensation for phase 1 ends this

week. First, I urge my right hon. Friend not to take the

word of his departmental officials but to look himself

at the impact of the exceptional hardship scheme on

many constituentswhose lives have been utterly destroyed

by incompetent and completely inconsistent panels.

Secondly, I urge him to reconsider a property bond.

Although officials have said there is no evidence that

that works, it would be the one way to ensure that the

blight that extends for miles in my constituency is

removed. Finally, I urge him to look at the fairness of

compensation between phase 1 and phase 2.

Mr McLoughlin: As my hon. Friend correctly said,

the consultation period on the compensation scheme

ends at the end of this week. I know that she has put

her own representations into that consultation, and

of course I will consider them among many of the other

representations we have received.

Mr Clive Betts (Sheffield South East) (Lab): I welcome

the Secretary of State’s announcement of an HS2 station

in Sheffield. There is an argument for having it in the

city centre, but I understandwhy he has chosenMeadowhall

on grounds of cost and time. In particular, it should be

a station for the whole city region.Will he therefore give

an assurance that his Department will work closely with

679 High Speed Rail 28 JANUARY 2013 High Speed Rail 680

local councils and South Yorkshire passenger transport

executive to make sure that there is real connectivity in

the whole Sheffield city region so that everyone can get

to the station at Meadowhall easily?

Mr McLoughlin: I amgrateful to the hon. Gentleman.

He is a former leader of Sheffield city council and

therefore speaks with authority on this matter, as he

does in his role as Chairman of the Communities and

Local Government Committee, so I will obviously look

at those matters. He is right that there is a balance to be

struck. He will see that in the document we address why

have arrived at the conclusions and recommendations

that we have, but I am of course prepared to listen to

any further representations.

Mr John Leech (Manchester, Withington) (LD): I

warmly welcome the Secretary of State’s announcement,

particularly the decision to have an additional station at

Manchester airport.However, there will be some anxiety

among people in south Manchester about the proposal

to have a deep tunnel under homes there.What assurances

can he give that they will not face years of disruption?

Mr McLoughlin:When carrying out these big projects,

there will always be the problem of inconvenience caused

during the period of construction, and I hear what the

hon. Gentleman says.We willwork with localcommunities

to try to ensure that we minimise the impact. I am glad

that the area he mentions is to be tunnelled; a lot of

colleagues would wish that more of the route was

tunnelled.

Ann Coffey (Stockport) (Lab): I support this

announcement, but it is estimated that it could take up

to 20 years to build the line to Manchester. Will the

Secretary of State assure me that in the meantime

priority is given to making sure that the west coast main

line gets the investment needed to improve the current

line from London to Manchester, including upgrading

Stockport station?

MrMcLoughlin: The hon. Lady is consistent, if nothing

else can be said about the points that she makes; I had

already anticipated the question before she had finished

asking it. Yes, money is continuing to be spent on the

west coast main line. I will look into the position with

her local station, as I promised to last time she asked me

a question. I failed to write to her then, and I will

certainly do so this time.

Richard Harrington (Watford) (Con): I commend the

Secretary of State and theGovernment on this courageous

and very significant announcement on HS2. It is particularly

of interest to the cities with new stations, but what does

he think the effect will be on my constituents in a place

that will not be directly affected but is suffering from

very poor capacity and a very poor service from London

Midland?

Mr McLoughlin: My hon. Friend hits on one of the

fundamental reasons why we need to build HS2. It is

not just a matter of journey times but capacity. Freeing

up capacity will allow us to have more services from

areas such as my hon. Friend’s, as is so desperately

needed.

Stewart Hosie (Dundee East) (SNP): I welcome the

statement, thank the Secretary of State for advanced

notice of it and recognise the Government’s ambitions

for reduced journey times to Scotland. However, reducing

journey times to Glasgow and Edinburgh, and further

along the east coast to Dundee and Aberdeen, would

require HS2 to go beyond Manchester and Leeds. I

know that the Secretary of State is doing this in a

phased way, but when will he be in a position to tell the

House the time scale for the completion of HS2, so that

every major city on the island will be able to benefit

from it?

Mr McLoughlin: I face a dilemma because some

people want us to go a lot faster while others among my

colleagues do not want us to go at all. We will have to

bear that in mind, but I hope that we will have fuller

plans before any decision is made about independence.

That depends, however, on whether the hon. Gentleman

can let me know the date of the referendum.

Iain Stewart (MiltonKeynes South) (Con): I welcome

my right hon. Friend’s statement, particularly how it

has highlighted the benefits of the network to my

constituents in Milton Keynes. On the issue of city

centre against parkway stations,may I draw his attention

to the evidence from the continent that both can work

and that the critical point is having good connectivity

across the region? May I also urge him to continue

to work with local authorities and local businesses to

make sure that this delivers?

Mr McLoughlin: I thank my hon. Friend for his

support and, indeed, for his work on the Transport

Committee. I agree entirely with his point. Setting out

our plans now and confirming them, I hope, by early

next year will enable us to look at connectivity between

stations in the period between our plans being outlined

and the actual development.

Graham Stringer (Blackley and Broughton) (Lab):

There is tremendous support for this project in Manchester

and the north of England, but, having heard from the

right hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham

(Mrs Gillan) that, surprisingly, she supports building

HS2 from the north of England, will the Secretary of

State reconsider what he said earlier and put both

phases of HS2 into one hybrid Bill and consider building

them from the north of England? In doing so, he would

unite the House in an even bigger way than it is united

at present.

Mr McLoughlin: The hon. Gentleman says that that

would unite the House in a more cohesive way, but it is

fairly united for such a controversial subject, as has

been clear from the exchanges so far. As I have said, the

proposals to go from north to south would mean further

delay, and I point out that the first part of the route was

actually published by the previous Government, who

also thought that the right way to go was from London

to Birmingham in the first instance.

Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford) (Con): I thank the Secretary

of State for his announcement. It is vital that the best

possible mitigation, including some realignment, is offered

to those of my constituents who will be affected by the

route. If HS2 is to bring jobs and prosperity, as he

681 High Speed Rail 28 JANUARY 2013 High Speed Rail 682

[Jeremy Lefroy]

desires, to the wider west midlands region, a stop on the

route is required in Staffordshire. May I ask him to take

that fully into account?

Mr McLoughlin: I certainly will. My hon. Friend

makes a valid point. The route goes substantially through

his constituency and areas that are not near motorway

corridors or the like, and I will certainly look at his

representations.

Lucy Powell (Manchester Central) (Lab/Co-op): On

behalf of Manchester, I strongly welcome the proposals

that the Secretary of State has laid before Parliament

today, not, as others have said, as a panacea to stop the

north-south divide, but to build on 15 years of urban

renaissance started by the Labour council and Labour

Government. The redevelopment opportunities presented

inmy constituency in and around Manchester Piccadilly

station are also exciting. May I echo the comments of

other colleagues and ask the Secretary of State to

consider introducing a hybrid Bill, so thatwe can maximise

those opportunities here and now, not several years in

the future?

Mr McLoughlin: I welcome the hon. Lady to the

House and to the Transport Committee, where she will

no doubt want to return to this topic on many occasions.

I was slightly chastised earlier by the hon. Member for

Garston and Halewood (Maria Eagle) on what the

courts may or may not say about HS2. If I followed the

route suggested by the hon. Member for Manchester

Central (Lucy Powell), I know that I would find myself

on the wrong side of judicial reviews.

John Stevenson (Carlisle) (Con): I welcome the

announcement on the developments on HS2 and the

substantial investment in our rail network. However,

will the Secretary of State confirm that the existing west

coast line will continue to receive the investment that it

requires? In particular, will signalling upgrades be more

than just like-for-like and bring capacity improvements?

Mr McLoughlin: I can assure my hon. Friend of that.

Over the new year, I saw the upgrading work at

Shugborough tunnel. That is the sort of investment that

no one normally sees. Until that work was done, trains

could go through the tunnel at only 50 mph. They can

now go through it at 125 mph. I fully accept the need for

continued investment. My hon. Friend’s constituents

will benefit from High Speed 2 up to Manchester and

will be able to pick up the normal lines beyond that.

Stephen Pound (Ealing North) (Lab): May I strongly

endorse what the hon. Member for South Northamptonshire

(Andrea Leadsom) said about property bonds?

The Secretary of State is speaking about phase 2, but he

has mentioned Old Oak Common. Although I am

extremely grateful to the Minister of State, Department

for Transport, the right hon. Member for Chelmsford

(Mr Burns) for his engagement with the local community,

fear still stalks the streets of Greenford, Northolt and

Perivale.Will the Secretary of State say whether it is his

preference for that section of the line to be tunnelled?

If so, it will be a great relief to many long-suffering

constituents of mine.

Mr McLoughlin: The hon. Gentleman is making a

representation to me that he has made before to the

Minister of State. We will consider that representation

and when we are in a position to make an announcement,

we will do so.

Andrew Jones (Harrogate and Knaresborough) (Con):

I congratulate my right hon. Friend on his excellent

statement. Does he agree that this investment should be

seen alongside the other major rail announcements for

the north that have been made recently, such as those

on the northern hub and the TransPennine Express

electrification project?Together, those projects will transform

the experience of rail in the north.

Mr McLoughlin: I agree completely with my hon.

Friend. Those announcements show the Government’s

commitment to the rail industry and to the railway

services that we all want in our constituencies.

Mr Jim Cunningham (Coventry South) (Lab): Will

the Secretary of State say how major cities such as

Coventry will benefit from this project, bearing in mind

the representations that I made to him some weeks ago

on that matter? Secondly, and more importantly, there

will inevitably be peoplewho fall outside the compensation

formula.What does he intend to do about that, because

I know of cases in Coventry and Warwickshire?

Mr McLoughlin: I am willing to listen to any

representations, but a line has to be drawn somewhere

on such developments. I think that Coventry will be

served by the large station at the Birmingham International

exchange before the line goes into Birmingham Curzon

Street. It is up to Coventry to work with the Department

to work out the best possible routes to link in with the

line so that people in Coventry have the advantage of

HS2.

Nigel Mills (Amber Valley) (Con): I warmly welcome

the announcement and especially the fact that the route

will miss my constituency off to the east. Will the

Secretary of State confirm that there will be good links

not only to Nottingham and Derby, but to smaller local

stations, such as the three in my constituency?

Mr McLoughlin: I am grateful to my hon. Friend and

constituency neighbour. As I have said, capacity is one

of the key reasons for building the new route. It will be

the first railway line to be built north of London in

120 years.We need extra capacity. By freeing up capacity,

the line will enable there to be better services elsewhere.

Paul Goggins (Wythenshawe and Sale East) (Lab): I,

too,welcome the proposed station at Manchester airport,

which will help to sustain many new jobs across the city

region and particularly within airport city and other

parts of theManchester enterprise zone inmy constituency.

Will the Secretary of State ensure that those who are

responsible for HS2 continue to work closely with the

local authorities and the airport so that these different

initiatives are properly linked together and bring the

maximum possible benefit to local communities?

Mr McLoughlin: I thank the right hon. Gentleman

for his support and for his attendance at last week’s

meeting of the all-party parliamentary group on high

683 High Speed Rail 28 JANUARY 2013 High Speed Rail 684

speed rail. I can give him that assurance. As I said

earlier, this is the start of the process, not the end. We

want to get the maximum possible value out of the

investment.

Andrew Selous (South West Bedfordshire) (Con): On

a number of recent occasions, trains pulling into Leighton

Buzzard station have been so full that no passenger has

been able to get from the platform on to the train. Will

HS2 help them?

Mr McLoughlin: I verymuch hope so.My hon. Friend

makes a point about the important need for greater

capacity, and I will look in great detail at how the issue

may affect his constituents.

Mr David Anderson (Blaydon) (Lab): Without any

three-lane motorway north of north Yorkshire, and

with a dual carriageway that ends just north of Newcastle,

the north-east has the worst road system in the country.

We are nowbeing told thatwewill also have a second-rate

railway system. Does the Secretary of State agree that

the best we are going to get in the north-east is HS1.5?

Mr McLoughlin: I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman

feels thatway.We have just announced a major investment

in dualling the A1 up to Newcastle, and I will look at

other schemes in due course.

Mr Adrian Sanders (Torbay) (LD): May I lodge with

the Secretary of State some very real concerns from the

far south-west in Devon and Cornwall? The area already

suffers from the slowest rail speeds and most expensive

fares, yet billions of pounds are being invested elsewhere.

What message can he give the people of Devon and

Cornwall that they will benefit directly fromthat investment?

Mr McLoughlin: I very much recognise the position

faced by the hon. Gentleman’s constituents as far as the

great western line is concerned, and I have organised a

special briefing for Members of Parliament fromNetwork

Rail about that section of the rail network. As a new

member of theTransport Committee, the hon. Gentleman

will want to keep that under guard.

Stephen Timms (East Ham) (Lab): May I press the

Secretary of State on the concern raised by my hon.

Friend the Member for Garston and Halewood (Maria

Eagle) about the HS2-HS1 interconnection? As I

understand, under current proposals it will be limited

to, at most, three trains per hour. As I am sure the

Secretary of State will want trains from new HS2

destinations to run beyond London and across the

channel, will we not have to do better than that with the

interconnection?

Mr McLoughlin: I think I tried to address that in an

earlier answer. Of course I want to look at how the

connection works, and it will be possible to run some

services from Old Oak Common direct to the continent

if there is demand for that.We will certainly look at the

issue, and at how the whole London interconnection

works.

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): This project

is very important to the wider economy in the north and

north-west. Given that the revised business case remains

considerably better than, for example, theCrossrail business

case, will the Secretary of State do what he can to

deliver this project before 2033?

Mr McLoughlin: I take that as a request to get a move

on and get building a lot quicker. We will see what

progress we can make.

Robert Flello (Stoke-on-Trent South) (Lab): Although

the Secretary of State’s comments about Staffordshire

provide some crumbs of comfort, may I impress on him

that unless we have a station in the north Staffordshire

area the damage that will be done to our economy will

be huge? Conversely, if we get one, the benefits will be

equally massive.

Mr McLoughlin: As I said at the beginning of my

statement, and as I shall now reiterate, these are our

initial proposals. We have considered the issue, and I

hope the hon. Gentleman will look at the early part of

the sustainability study, particularly page 10, which

shows the work that went in to try and model this.

However, I hear what he says, and whatmy hon. Friends

the Members for Stafford (Jeremy Lefroy) and for Lichfield

(Michael Fabricant) are calling for.

David Rutley (Macclesfield) (Con): This is positive

news for the north-west. What assessment has my right

hon. Friend made of the impact that HS2 will have on

existing west coast main line services and, not to put too

fine a point on it, services to and from Macclesfield

station?

Mr McLoughlin: As I have said—I hope I am not

becoming boring by being repetitious—we are hoping

for greater capacity not only so that my hon. Friend’s

constituents are served, but so thatwe see somemovement

of freight from road to rail.

Hugh Bayley (York Central) (Lab): I welcome the

statement and especially the wise and logical decision to

connect the High Speed 2 line with the east coast main

line at York. Does the Secretary of State realise that

next toYork station is the biggest city centre development

site anywhere in western Europe—the York Central

site? It is important for his officials to safeguard land

on that site for additional platforms to get maximum

connectivity with conventional rail services, and for

local government Ministers to work with York city

council to ensure that the area is developed as a business

site to benefit from the new railway.

Mr McLoughlin: I am very pleased that the hon.

Gentleman is so welcoming of the development. High

Speed 2 will stop just short of York, but it will obviously

be served by it. One of the things that we want to look

at with this project is how we get regeneration in areas.

This should open up huge potential, especially around

station sites, for the north to benefit from connections

with the rest of the country.

Christopher Pincher (Tamworth) (Con): I became

aware that the proposed Leeds alignment will run just a

few hundred yards from Wilnecote and Stoneydelph

in my constituency when I looked at the HS2 website

this morning. Will my right hon. Friend agree to meet

me to discuss mitigations in the Tamworth area if his

685 High Speed Rail 28 JANUARY 2013 High Speed Rail 686

[Christopher Pincher]

initial preferred alignment becomes his final preferred

alignment? More particularly, can we discuss other,

better alternatives?

Mr McLoughlin: I am certainly prepared to meet my

hon. Friend and discuss alternatives that hemay wish to

put forward. I hope that he will realise that in deciding

on the route through his constituency we have tried to

follow an existing major road network. Of course, I will

meet him and listen carefully to any representations he

has to make.

Ian Austin (Dudley North) (Lab): I strongly support

High Speed 2 and very much welcome today’s

announcement. The Secretary of State will no doubt

have followed the debate about the arrangements between

Birmingham International and the city centre. May I

suggest that a way of dealing with that controversy and

its unpopularity in certain areas would be to take the

route along the existing line north of the city and,

instead of having the link in the city centre, have it close

to the M5/M6 junction in the black country, alongside

the M6 at Walsall? There is a huge railway yard there

already, and it would have much better links across the

black country and Birmingham. It would support exactly

what the Secretary of State has said about rebalancing

the economy, because it has the largest concentration of

manufacturers anywhere in western Europe. It would

greatly help with the regeneration of the black country,

and it would be easier, cheaper and quicker to build.

Mr Speaker: It sounds to me as though the hon.

Gentleman wants an Adjournment debate on the subject.

Mr McLoughlin: If the hon. Gentleman has one,

I will make sure that a Minister answers it properly. I

would need to look a bit more closely at the maps, but

I think that he is doing the opposite to what most other

colleagues with city centre sites are doing. He is asking

meto take it froma city centre, and he is thus demonstrating

the problems that we have in trying to get a route

established and accepted by everyone and that serves

the best areas of the country.

Andrew Percy (Brigg and Goole) (Con): The Secretary

of State said that this proposal must benefit all our

regions, and he will know that the best part of our

region lies to the east, in the Humber. Can he confirm

whether work will begin now on how we can improve

our connectivity into Sheffield Meadowhall or say how

we can benefit from the increased capacity on the east

coast line?

Mr McLoughlin: The truth is that my hon. Friend is

looking forward to the benefits that will come from this.

Part of the reason for making the announcements now

is that once we have the route signed off—it is out for

consultation—we can look at getting the right connections

into these stations in the longer term, for the benefit of

all parts of the United Kingdom.

Alison McGovern (Wirral South) (Lab): High Speed 2

is incredibly important for all of Merseyside and our

city region’s development. Further to the answers that

the Secretary of State has given already on connectivity,

will he confirm that the northern hub should not be the

end of better inter-city rail services in the north of

England, but the start and that we need to start planning

for better now?

Mr McLoughlin: Yes. I was in Liverpool and met the

mayor a few weeks ago. It was substantially easier to get

from London to Liverpool than it was to get from

Liverpool back to Derby.

Sir Bob Russell (Colchester) (LD): Taxpayers of Essex,

Suffolk and Norfolk and users of the Greater Anglia

line will contribute to the cost of HS2. We have had

years of neglect by successive Governments of rail

investment in East Anglia. The Secretary of State has

said that he is determined to make sure that the benefits

of HS2 run much wider than the places directly served

by the new line. How will it benefit Colchester?

MrMcLoughlin: Huge investment—£2.2 billion, I think

—is already going into the area that serves the hon.

Gentleman’s constituency. I appreciate that he might

like us to have a high-speed link to his area. We are

being ambitious, but I am afraid that that ambition can

only go so far.

Tristram Hunt (Stoke-on-Trent Central) (Lab): This

morning I received an e-mail from a constituent who

said he found it utterly incredible that the line should go

from Birmingham to Manchester without stopping at

the north Staffordshire conurbation. There is anger in

Stoke-on-Trent that HS2 will just skim the west of the

potteries and not stop there. What benefits can HS2

bring to my constituents? Will the Secretary of State

explain the current thinking for a stop at Crewe, rather

than one along the M6? What assurances can he give

that the existing west coast main line will not be affected?

Mr McLoughlin: The hon. Gentleman needs to look

at the two documents we have published, but I have

made it very clear that today is the start of the process

and I expect him to make representations, as he has just

done. I know Stoke-on-Trent and the surrounding area

incredibly well.We have made improvements to its road

infrastructure, but they have been very controversial

over many years.

PaulMaynard (Blackpool North and Cleveleys) (Con):

I strongly welcome the Secretary of State’s statement,

not least as a demonstration of our party’s commitment

to the north of England. Although Blackpool will not

be getting a high-speed station—I will not stand here

today and demand one—will he none the less explain

when Network Rail will be able to make an assessment

of how much capacity the HS2 project will free up on

the west coast main line?

Mr McLoughlin: My hon. Friend asks a reasonable

question. I think I can best answer it by saying that we

will have a better indication of exactly what capacity

will be freed up once the line is confirmed and Network

Rail is asked to start the work on the consequences of

building the line.

Cathy Jamieson (Kilmarnock and Loudoun) (Lab/Coop):

The Secretary of State made reference not only to

passenger capacity on the west coast main line but

687 High Speed Rail 28 JANUARY 2013 High Speed Rail 688

freight. Given the importance to the Scottish economy

of connectivity between Scotland and the rest of the

UK, will he discuss with the Scottish Government how

freeing up capacity will benefit freight services to and

from Scotland?

Mr McLoughlin: Now that the hon. Lady has asked

me to do so, I will.

Mr Philip Hollobone (Kettering) (Con): Whenever

and from wherever construction starts, and whatever

configuration High Speed 2 takes, will the Secretary of

State ensure that this is a British railway, with the trains

built in Britain, the tracks built in Britain, all the

equipment coming fromBritish firms, and Britishworkers

and British firms building the railway?

Mr McLoughlin: I am determined, by the long-term

nature of the notice we are giving, that British companies

will be able to compete and win the business that will be

available, and will go out to tender in the usual way.

From what I have seen of British engineering, I believe

it is well able to compete with anywhere else in the

world.

Mark Lazarowicz (Edinburgh North and Leith) (Lab/

Co-op): The publication today states that theGovernment

have been working productively with the Scottish

Government on this issue for two years, yet after two

years the only firm commitment we have is for a further

study into high-speed rail to Scotland, followed by

identification of a remit for further work. That does not

sound like very high-speed decision making to me.Why

will the Government not commit themselves now to

extending high-speed rail to Scotland, and start preparing

the route now to make sure it actually happens?

Mr McLoughlin: I gently say to the hon. Gentleman,

because he is bringing a chord of disharmony into what

so far has been a fairly harmonious occasion, that we

have made more progress on high-speed rail in two

years than the previous Government did in 13.

Mr Ben Wallace (Wyre and Preston North) (Con): I

warmly welcome the announcement today that my

constituents’ journey time from London to Preston will

be reduced by 30% from 2 hours 8 minutes to 1 hour

24 minutes—a great thing for Preston. However, there is

still some confusion among the public, who believe that

a stop is necessary to benefit from the speed of HS2.

Will the Secretary of State make it absolutely clear to

many of my constituents,who use Lancaster and Preston,

that as soon as phase 1 is started they will benefit from

the reduced journey times, whether or not they have a

stop?

Mr McLoughlin: My hon. Friend is right to say that

his constituents will benefit from the opening of the

first part of the line, from London to Birmingham,

because the trains will be able to travel at high speed

between those two cities, saving about 40 minutes on

overall journey times. And that is beforewe have extended

the line further north.

Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North)

(Lab): Improvements to rail, road and air transport

infrastructure are vital if regions such as the north-east

are to continue as leading exporters, so will the Secretary

of State outlinewhat discussions he has had with regional

airports, such as Newcastle International airport, about

ensuring that the HS2 plans lead to a properly integrated

transport system?

MrMcLoughlin: As I said earlier, some of my discussions

with various bodies have been curtailed until the route

is announced, but those conversations should start in

earnest as a result of today’s announcement.

Henry Smith (Crawley) (Con): I commend my right

hon. Friend for his statement. He is right about how

important connectivity with the London hub airport

will be when the issue of the hub is determined. Will

cognisance also be taken, however, of the importance of

linkage with major international gateways to the south

of London, such as Gatwick airport and the Gatwick

Express?

Mr McLoughlin: My hon. Friend is right. We cannot

look at these things singly, but must consider how they

impact not only on Heathrow airport but on other

airports and availability to constituents who wish to use

those services.

MrFrank Field (Birkenhead) (Lab): I direct the Secretary

of State back to the question about construction beginning

in the north. Given that London is all-powerful and will

see this project completed, if it is in London’s interest,

will he take a new stance on the hybrid Bill? If the

leaders in Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds could fit in

with his timetable, might we have a hybrid Bill please?

Mr McLoughlin: Of course I will consider the

representations, but it is not so much a question of

those leaders of cities in the north fitting in with the

timetable, but of the other areas we have to address in

the proposals.We are out to consultation, and the right

hon. Gentleman will have heard that some people are

not too happy with the route proposed and would like

changes and adjustments to be made. That takes time,

and once we have settled on the route—as I said, we are

out to consultation, which means I have not settled on

one—wewill have to carry out environmental assessments

and the like, which I am afraid take considerable time.

I am keen to get on with this as quickly as possible, but

I am constrained by what we need to do.

Michael Ellis (Northampton North) (Con): I commend

my right hon. Friend for what was, in many respects, a

courageous statement and one that has support from all

corners of the House. Will he confirm, however, that

rail fares, which are already high in many areas, will, in

respect of HS2, not be too high and will make HS2

accessible to all?

MrMcLoughlin: The Department is currently conducting

a fares review. Like everybody else, I am keen to see

passengers benefit from cheaper fares, but the truth is

that those able to book trains in advance and outside

rush hour can already get some very cheap fares—cheaper,

in fact, than they have been for many years. However,

we do not mean to build a railway only to see people

unable to take advantage of it. I will want to ensure that

people can take advantage of those services.

689 High Speed Rail 28 JANUARY 2013 High Speed Rail 690

Angela Smith (Penistone and Stocksbridge) (Lab): I

welcome the Secretary of State’s commitment to a

south Yorkshire-based approach to the placement of

the HS2 station in the Sheffield city region. Indeed, the

choice of Meadowhall suggested today seems to offer a

reasonable way forward. Will he consider ensuring,

however, that the enabling aspects of the hybrid Bill

contain at least a commitment to phase 2? Let us

separate the enabling from the quasi-judicial aspects of

the Bill.

Mr McLoughlin: I am grateful to the hon. Lady for

that suggestion and will think on it a little more.

Eric Ollerenshaw (Lancaster and Fleetwood) (Con):

When it comes to the impact of High Speed 2 on

Lancaster and the rest of the north-west beyond—dare

I say—Manchester and Merseyside, if I understood it

correctly the Secretary of Statewas saying that high-speed

trains from London to Manchester would enter the

west coast main line just above Wigan, stopping at

Preston, Lancaster, Carlisle and Glasgow, so that we in

Lancaster will therefore also get shorter journey times.

Mr McLoughlin: The answer—[Interruption]—I am

sorry, I was trying to follow exactly whatmy hon. Friend

was saying and checking the points he was making—is

that shorter journey times to Lancaster will certainly be

a result and a benefit for his constituents.

Mr Russell Brown (Dumfries and Galloway) (Lab):

On the very point that the hon. Member for Lancaster

and Fleetwood (Eric Ollerenshaw) has just made, what

will be important for those travelling beyond theWigan

area is quality connectivity, so that people can continue

and eventually complete their journeys. The Secretary

of State has also mentioned that the Minister of State

has been in contact with the Scottish Government. Is it

best that I meet his right hon. Friend to discuss how

those discussions have gone?

Mr McLoughlin: I am more than happy for the hon.

Gentleman to meet the Minister of State, and I will do

all I can to facilitate such a meeting.

Huw Irranca-Davies (Ogmore) (Lab): The Secretary

of State will be pleased that I am not asking for a

re-routing via Bridgend or Aberystwyth—yet!—but what

I would ask, echoing the sentiments of my hon. Friend

the Member forHayes and Harlington (John McDonnell),

iswhether he will consider bringing forward the Heathrow

spur, which would bring a direct, long-term economic

advantage to south Wales, Bristol and Avon.

MrMcLoughlin: I think the hon. Gentleman is referring

to the great western spur, which is in the outline of the

planswe have talked about for 2014 to 2019. As somebody

who had a daughter who went to Aberystwyth university,

I think thatwhat he refers towould create some challenges

for us.

Tom Blenkinsop (Middlesbrough South and East

Cleveland) (Lab): Given the dire economic statistics

that we saw on Friday, what will the Secretary of State

be doing to ensure that those in the UK steel industry

are given priority in procurement contracts for long

steel products—I amthinking of sites such as Scunthorpe

and Teesside beam mill—so that regions such as the

north-east can benefit from this project?

MrMcLoughlin: The hon. Gentleman makes a perfectly

reasonable point. I want to see British industry able to

benefit from this. There will need to be competition, but

I am pretty sure that British industry will be able to

compete and provide the services we want and require.

We will also be looking for engineers who can work on

this scheme. Indeed, the construction phase will create

many thousands of jobs, with, I think, the scheme

creating many thousands of jobs for the longer-term

future of the country.

Jonathan Ashworth (Leicester South) (Lab): As an

east midlands MP, the Secretary of State will know that

his announcement today has not been universallywelcomed

across Leicestershire. It is certainly true that the city of

Leicester will not see the same advantages that the

wider Nottingham and Derby conurbations will see,

with the proposal to put the station at Toton. One way

he could win over his Leicestershire critics would be to

bring forward—and start sooner—the electrification of

the midland mainline.

MrMcLoughlin: The hon. Gentleman makes a tempting

offer. We are committed to the electrification of the

midland mainline, which will have substantial benefits

for Leicestershire. I would add that East Midlands

airport was built by the three counties—Leicestershire,

Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire—and is situated at

the north of Leicestershire, which the county at that

time felt was beneficial to it. The Toton sidings are

basically not far from the north end of the county, so

I think they will have benefits for Leicestershire as well.

Ian Mearns (Gateshead) (Lab): Twenty years ago, I

could travel from Newcastle to London in 2 hours and

38 minutes. In his announcement today, the Secretary of

State said that in 20 years’ time we will be able to do it in

2 hours and 18 minutes. Does he think that 40 years is

enough for 20minutes, given the importance of connectivity

for the economic regeneration of a place such as the

north-east of England?

Mr McLoughlin: I imagine that I would need to check

out the timetable that the hon. Gentleman has just

alluded to, because it is not unknown for Opposition

Members to look on the past through rose-tinted glasses.

Part of the problem might be that more people are now

using the railways so there are more stops, which means

that his journey is perhaps taking a little longer than it

used to. However, I am very much minded to ensure

that his region, like every other region in the north of

the country, can benefit from the proposals I have

brought forward today.

Mr William Bain (Glasgow North East) (Lab): The

Secretary of State will be aware of the strength of

support in the Scottish Chambers of Commerce and in

Glasgow and Edinburgh city councils for the extension

of high-speed track right up into Scotland’s two major

cities. Would it hasten the evaluation of the economic

case for that if the Minister were to commit to legislating,

in this Parliament, in a single Bill covering the entirety

of the route between London, Manchester and Leeds?

691 High Speed Rail 28 JANUARY 2013 High Speed Rail 692

Mr McLoughlin: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the

reply that I gave some time ago.

JonathanReynolds (Stalybridge andHyde) (Lab/Co-op):

I, too, welcome today’s announcement, and I particularly

welcome the news that there will be two stations in

Manchester. That makes a great deal of sense in relation

to the connectivity that will already exist through the

northern hub investment. May I reiterate to the few

critics of high-speed rail that the case for this project is

based on capacity, not on journey times? If we were to

spend the same amount of money on the west coast

main line, we would get nothing like the amount of

capacity that will be freed up by High Speed 2. That is

why this is the right choice for the northern economy.

Mr McLoughlin: The hon. Gentleman is absolutely

right. This will give faster journey times, and I think

that people willwelcome that, but one of the overwhelming

reasons for High Speed 2 is capacity. It is a fact that no

new railway line has been built north of London for

120 years, and it is high time that that was put right. If

we are to add to the capacity, it is right that we should

take advantage of high-speed trains, which every other

country in Europe and all our major competitors have

already adopted.

Andrew Gwynne (Denton and Reddish) (Lab): This

will be good news for the Greater Manchester economy,

albeit some time in the future. May I press the Secretary

of State on the point made by my hon. Friend the

Member for Ogmore (Huw Irranca-Davies) about

connectivity? If the Greater Manchester economy is to

get maximum benefit from High Speed 2, we will need

proper connectivity with the continent, with London

and with Heathrow airport. We can do better than the

plans set out in these proposals. Will the Secretary of

State commit to providing proper connectivity with

Europe and with Heathrow airport?

Mr McLoughlin: What we have announced today is

exciting for the north and for the future of the rail

industry in this country. The hon. Gentleman talks

about connectivity, but this is a matter of connectivity

not only with the south but with the major cities of the

north. As I said earlier, it can take longer to get from

Manchester to Derby than from Manchester to London.

This is about connectivity between the major city regions

in our country, and we are determined to work towards

that. I thank the hon. Gentleman for his comments, and

I hope that we can satisfy his requests at least in part.

Points of Order

4.47 pm

Mr Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) (Con): On a point

of order, Mr Speaker. You will know that the Second

Reading debate on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples)

Bill will take place next Tuesday. It obviously raises

profound moral, emotional and legal issues, but I would

argue that it also raises important constitutional issues

affecting the Church of England and the status of

marriage itself. Have you had any intimation from the

Government that, in order to ensure proper scrutiny of

the Bill, its Committee stage will be taken on the Floor

of the House?

Mr Speaker: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for

his point of order. The short answer to his inquiry is no,

I have received no such intimation. Of course, the Chair

is always in favour of more debate rather than less, and

of debate that is as accessible as possible, but it is only

right to say to him and to the House that the decision

on the type of Committee to which a Bill is committed

is a matter for the House; it is not a matter of order for

the Chair. Needless to say, the Chair will always do as

the House instructs. I hope that that is clear, and I am

grateful to the hon. Gentleman.

Jim McGovern (Dundee West) (Lab): On a point of

order, Mr Speaker. On 4 December, I participated in a

Westminster Hall debate on Remploy, in which I asked

the Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions,

the hon. Member forWirralWest (EstherMcVey)whether

she would visit the Remploy factory in Dundee. She

very generously said that she would, and I expect to see

her there nextMonday, 4 February. In the debate, I also

asked her whether she would speak to the Minister for

Defence Procurement, the Under-Secretary of State for

Defence, the hon. Member for Ludlow (Mr Dunne),

about awarding contracts toRemploy for manufacturing

uniforms for the armed forces. I have yet to receive

a response on that. You might be aware, Mr Speaker,

that I tried to intervene in a debate on 15 December, and

that I raised thismatter as a point of order on 16 December.

I have yet to receive a response from the Minister. Will

you advise me how long I should wait for a response

from a Minister?

Mr Speaker: I fear I can offer little assistance to the

hon. Gentleman in this matter. There are two points

to mention. First, he can pursue the route of tabling

questions on the Order Paper to highlight his continuing

concerns and the absence thus far of a response to them.

Secondly, I note in passing that the Deputy Leader of

the House is in his place, and that in my experience the

Leader of the House and the Deputy Leader of the

House are always attentive to parliamentary courtesies.

If the hon. Gentleman has been promised a response or

some other commitment has been made to him, which

has not yet been honoured, I say in all seriousness to

him that that will be a source of some legitimate concern

to the Deputy Leader of the House. Indeed, it is conceivable

that the two of them might wish to have a chat outside

the Chamber. I do not know; we shall see.

If there are no further points of order, we come on to

our main business.

TRANSPORT

High Speed Rail

The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Patrick

McLoughlin): High Speed 2 is the engine for growth

that Britain needs to compete and succeed in the global

economy. It will generate jobs, rebalance the economy

and secure the country’s future prosperity.

In January 2012, the Government announced the

HS2 route that will link London and Birmingham,

known as phase 1, following a thorough consultation.

Today, I ampublishingmy initial preferred route, station

and depot options for phase 2 linking Birmingham with

Manchester, the East Midlands, Sheffield and Leeds.

There will be a comprehensive programmeof engagement

on all aspects of phase 2 and a public consultation,

planned originally for 2014, has been brought forward

to begin ahead of schedule this year.

A Command Paper published this morning. “High

Speed Rail: investing in Britain’s future phase two—the

route to Leeds, Manchester and beyond”, details the

Government’s preferred route for 211 miles of new

track and stations in the following locations:

Manchester (alongside the existing city centre terminal at

Manchester Piccadilly).

Manchester Airport (linked directly to Manchester Airport’s

three terminals).

Leeds (in the South Bank area of the city centre).

SouthYorkshire (at SheffieldMeadowhall, alongside the M1).

East Midlands (between Nottingham and Derby at Toton,

alongside the M1).

In addition, Crewe will be connected directly with the

high speed line via a dedicated link. HS2 will be integrated

with the existing national railway network allowing

cities and towns in England and Scotland beyond the

highspeedtracks—includingLiverpool,Glasgow,Edinburgh,

Newcastle,York, Preston,Warrington, Lancaster, Carlisle,

Durham and Darlington—to benefit also from new

connections and dramatic time savings thanks to trains

able to use both conventional and high speed railway lines.

HS2means our railway network will have the capacity

to cope with ever increasing numbers of passengers and

free up space on existing rail lines for more commuter,

rural and freight services, meaning fewer cars and lorries

on our roads.

We will deliver a fair deal for people whose homes,

land or businesses will be affected by construction by

continuing to offer a generous compensation package

and investing millions in tunnels and other mitigation

measures. That is why we are also launching today a

public consultation on an exceptional hardship scheme

to assist property owners and compensate people fairly.

This is an interim scheme; longer-term compensation

proposals will be developed in the future as they have

been for phase 1.

Construction on HS2 will begin in four years and

phase 1 will open to passengers in 13 years. Phase 2 will

open six years after that.

A series of supporting documents setting out in

detail the Department for Transport’s phase 2 proposals

are available on: https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/

developing-a-new-high-speed-rail-network.

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