HS2 in Hansard 28/02/2013

 

2. Kris Hopkins (Keighley) (Con):What recent progress

has been made on high speed rail; and if he will make a

statement. [145051]

The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Patrick

McLoughlin): In January this year, I announced my

initial route and station options for phase two, from

Birmingham to Leeds and Birmingham to Manchester.

I intend to launch the consultation this year, earlier

than previously planned. I have also set outmy intention

to secure the authority for departmental expenditure on

HS2 phase 2 by way of a paving Bill, when parliamentary

time is available.

Kris Hopkins: I am delighted that the Government

have pledged to deliver HS2. Can my right hon. Friend

give a further commitment to ensure that the financial

benefits flowing from the pre-construction phase will be

felt along the length of the line, particularly among

firms in west Yorkshire, which are ready, willing and

very able to assist?

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

Last week I made a trip to the north-east talking to a

number of companies. I amaware that many companies

up there and in other places along the route are interested

in, and prepared to be involved, in all phases of HS2. It

is a beneficial project for the whole United Kingdom

453 28 FEBRUARY 2013 454

and I can assure my hon. Friend that we will be looking

at ways to involve British business in all aspects of the

HS2 programme.

16. [145065] Tristram Hunt (Stoke-on-Trent Central)

(Lab): The updated case for HS2 involves significant

downgrading of provision and a collapse of existing

services to Stoke-on-Trent so that Milton Keynes can

have its high-speed service.How does this help rebalance

the economy and why is my constituency being

disadvantaged by HS2?

Mr McLoughlin: Two weeks ago, I met representatives

fromStoke,Newcastle-under-Lymeand Stafford. Iwelcome

all views, and we will take a final decision on the route

after the full consultation. The hon. Gentleman should

be a bit more enthusiastic about such things.

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

If HS2 goes ahead, it will do significant damage to our

Buckinghamshire constituencies and the Chilterns

designated area of outstanding natural beauty.We need

the best environmental protection.Will the Secretary of

State undertake to consider carefully this document I

have with me? It is the Buckinghamshire mitigation

plan,which has been painstakingly produced and endorsed

by all our councils in Buckinghamshire, our business

leaders and organisations, and it is intended to form the

basis of a constructive and positive outlook for HS2.

Mr McLoughlin: I had better be careful how I answer

my right hon. Friend. I will study the document she has

given tome and ask for it to be studied by officials inmy

Department.We will do all we can to minimise damage

in her area.

Maria Eagle (Garston and Halewood) (Lab): The

Opposition firmly support HS2, but we want it delivered.

It is therefore worrying that the Government’s mid-term

review referred not to enacting, but to “carrying forward

legislation”, even though the Secretary of State’s

departmental plan continues to claim Royal Assent will

be secured by May 2015. Will he confirm that, with all

the dither and delay, botched consultations and judicial

reviews, the hybrid Bill is still on track to secure Royal

Assent in this Parliament?

Mr McLoughlin: This Government will have achieved

far more in five years to build high-speed rail in this

country than the previous Government did in 13. All I

would say is that we are still on target to meet our aims

by the end of this year. As to its progress once it is

before Parliament, I really cannot say any more at this

stage.

Maria Eagle: The Secretary of State has introduced

some confusion, because we are meant to have two

Bills. One is paving legislation, which we have not seen

and we do not know what it does, and the second is

the hybrid Bill that he said would be completed in

this Parliament. He should be clear what Bills he will

introduce and when. Which Bill will he introduce: a

measure simply to give the impression of action or the

hybrid Bill that we need if this vital scheme is ever to be

built?

Mr McLoughlin: I ampleased to have the Opposition’s

support in bringing HS2 to fruition. The simple point

is that a paving Bill will deal with certain financial

responsibilities. I amhappy to discuss the details further

with her. The hybrid Bill—the measure that seeks planning

approval—is still on course to be introduced by the end

of the year.

 

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer

what authority his Department has given to the Department

for Transport for spending related to the High Speed 2

project; if he will publish all correspondence with the

Department of Transport on that matter; and if he will

make a statement. [145160]

Danny Alexander: The Government has allocated

expenditure to HS2 Ltd during the current spending

reviewperiod to design and develop plans for the proposed

high speed route between London and Birmingham in

support of the Hybrid Bill, and then the second phase

to both Manchester and Leeds.

The Department for Transport is responsible for

managing the resources allocated at the spending review

within delegated spending limits.

The spending review document was published in

October 2010 and is available online at:

http://cdn.hm-treasury.gov.uk/sr2010_completereport.pdf

Government Ministers and officials exchange routine

correspondence as part of the process of policy development

and delivery.Aswas the case with previous Administrations,

it is not the Government’s practice to provide details of

all such exchanges.

 

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