HS2 in Hansard 25/04/2013

High Speed 2
5. Hugh Bayley (York Central) (Lab): What
obligation will be placed on any future holder of the
east coast main line rail franchise to co-operate with
High Speed 2 to ensure that classic compatible train
services connect the north-east andYork to High Speed 2.
[153153]
The Minister of State, Department for Transport
(Mr Simon Burns):Where future rail franchises interact
with HS2, we will ensure that the two are complementary.
Hugh Bayley: I welcome the Government’s decision
that classic compatible trains will run on the high-speed
line to Leeds and then continue up the east coast main
line, but the east coast train operator might well see that
as unwelcome competition. Therefore, the terms of a
franchise for the new east coast train operator, whoever
gets it, must include a provision that allows it to profit
from getting the high-speed trains running over the east
coat tracks as soon as possible.
Mr Burns: I thank the hon. Gentleman for raising a
valid and interesting point. He is absolutely right that
that will have to be looked at. Fortunately, we have time
on our side. I can assure him that between now and
when High Speed 2 begins operating on phase 2 in
2032-33, this will be looked into fully in order to avoid
the very problems he identifies.
Martin Vickers (Cleethorpes) (Con): As well as
connections to York and the north-east in the new
franchise, it is equally important that areas such as
Grimsby and Cleethorpes are served in order to aid
economic regeneration. Can the Minister assure me
that he will give serious consideration to a direct service
to that area in the new franchise?
Mr Burns: I seek to give my hon. Friend a partial
reassurance, because I cannot prejudge at this stage in
proceedings what might be in any franchise document,
but I can say that there will be full consultations with
relevant stakeholders and others before the document is
finally put together so that all the issues, desires and
wish lists can be fully considered.
Mr Angus Brendan MacNeil (Na h-Eileanan an Iar)
(SNP): Is the Minister aware that every year there is no
high-speed rail connection between south and central
England and Scotland is a year when both economies
underperform? Recent studies at the Martin Prosperity
Institute at the University of Toronto have identified
that two of the world’s 40 co-called mega-regions are in
the United Kingdom and that good, fast rail connections
would benefit both.When will a date be set for that key
infrastructure, as I am particularly keen that England
should keep up with Scotland afterwe become independent?
Mr Burns: As the hon. Gentleman will know, my
right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said last October
that the Government are investigating whether there
should be a phase 3 for High Speed 2, from Leeds and
Manchester to Glasgowand Edinburgh.We look forward
to the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends supporting
us as we put forward the proposals and the legislation
for establishing High Speed 2, which will bring so much
benefit not only to England, but to Scotland andWales.
Andrew Jones (Harrogate and Knaresborough) (Con):
The private sector has a record of significant investment
and innovation in our railways and of growing the
numbers of people using them.When does the Minister
expect the east coast main line to return to the private
sector?
Mr Burns: As my right hon. Friend the Secretary
of State announced in his statement to the House on
26 March, the east coast main line will return to a
franchise operation.
993 Oral Answers 25 APRIL 2013 Oral Answers 994
Ian Mearns (Gateshead) (Lab): Scandalous!
Mr Burns: Notwithstanding the hon. Gentleman’s
cry, that was, of course, the intended policy of the
previous Labour Secretary of State and the previous
Labour Minister for Transport. We anticipate that the
line will return to a franchise operation by February
2015.
Maria Eagle (Garston and Halewood) (Lab):Will the
Minister explain why he has chosen to prioritise a
completely unnecessary and costly competition for the
east coast main line rail franchise, which will also require
him to waste taxpayers’ money on expensive extensions
to other contracts, some for as long as four years?
Mr Burns: I am afraid that the premise of the shadow
Secretary of State’s question is factually incorrect and
misguided. The reason why we are moving the east
coast main line back to a franchise is exactly the same—
[Interruption.] The hon. Lady should stop chuntering.
MrBarry Sheerman(Huddersfield) (Lab/Co-op): Answer
the question.
Mr Burns: I am answering the question. The reason
why we are moving the line back to a franchise is exactly
the same as why the shadow Secretary of State’s right
honourable friend Lord Adonis was going to do it when
he said:
“I do not believe that it would be in the public interest for us to
have a nationalised train operating company indefinitely”.—[Official
Report, House of Lords, 1 July 2009; Vol. 712, c. 232.]
Nor do we, and that is why we are ending it.
Maria Eagle: It does not sound like the Minister
actually knows what is happening on the east coast
main line: 3 million more seats, best ever punctuality,
lowest taxpayer subsidy, £40 million of extra profit
invested and £800 million returned to the taxpayer. He
should stop talking it down. Will he confirm that all of
the planned east coast upgrade—all the investment that
his hon. and right hon. Friends claim is necessary—will
be paid for by the taxpayer? None of this investment is
dependent on privatisation. The fact is that private train
companies now receive more from the taxpayer each
year than they pay back in, so why is he doing this?
Mr Burns: I sometimes wonder which world the
shadow Secretary of State lives in. If she would just do
us all a favour and listen for one minute, I will offer her
an explanation. First, the premium that the east coast
main line pays to the Treasury is less than that paid by
the west coast main line. Secondly, if the hon. Lady
looks at reliability over the latest four-week period, she
will see that the east coast main line is the worst of the
19 operators. Thirdly, we have found that the operator
did a reasonable job in difficult circumstances when it
had to take over the direct operation, but that it has
now reached a plateau. Fourthly, yes, there will be
taxpayers’ money involved in investing in the east coast
main line, but, more importantly, the involvement of
the private sector means that we can increase, over and
above the taxpayers’ money, the money that can be
invested in enhancing and improving the service for
passengers.
High Speed 2
6. Lyn Brown (West Ham) (Lab):What steps he plans
to take to address the effects of High Speed 2 on
London; and whether he has assessed the case for
Crossrail 2. [153154]
The Minister of State, Department for Transport
(Mr Simon Burns): HS2 Ltd is carrying out an
environmental impact assessment on the London-west
midlands phase of HS2 to look at the potential impacts
and proposed mitigation measures. The aim is to consult
on a draft environmental statement shortly.
The Government have made no decision on Crossrail 2,
and it is currently unfunded. Under devolution, theMayor
and Transport for London are responsible for transport
in London, including the route options for Crossrail 2.
Lyn Brown: I thank the Minister for that answer.
Following about £1 billion-worth of investment, Stratford
has an international train station but, sadly, it currently
has no stopping international trains.Given that investment,
Stratford should surely be a transport hub, fully
interconnecting HS1, HS2, Crossrail 1 and Crossrail 2
with domestic and underground services. That would
not only provide superb interconnectivity, but relieve
stress on central London terminals. Will the Minister
provide leadership?
Mr Burns: I always try to provide leadership,Mr Speaker.
I fully understand the valid point that the hon. Lady
makes, but there are consideration problems with her
proposition. HS2 Ltd did consider whether Stratford
should be the primary terminus for HS2 services and
others. Its advice was that locating the principal HS2
terminus outside central London would not meet the
needs of the majority of the passengers who will use the
service or make best use of the wider London transport
network. There would also be physical problems with
the need to build an additional 10 platforms, given the
geographic size of the site at Stratford.
Christopher Pincher (Tamworth) (Con): My concerns
about HS2 will come as no surprise to my right hon.
Friend, but is he surprised at the concerns of UKIP,
which, quite apart from believing that every last Bulgarian
andRomanian is about to hitchhike theirway to London,
is opposed to HS2, whereas in 2010 it did not support
just one high-speed line, but three?
Mr Burns: My hon. Friend raises a very interesting
point. As you will knowas a politician yourself,Mr Speaker,
if one makes promises, they must have some validity
and credibility, and one must have the ability to fund
them. Asmy hon. Friend rightly said, the UKIP manifesto
at the last election, which you probably read more than
most of us, Mr Speaker, stated that it would:
“Invest in three new 200mph plus high-speed rail lines including
a newline between London andNewcastle with a spur to Manchester,
a London-Bristol-Exeter line and a linking route via Birmingham”.
It really is extraordinary—
Mr Speaker: Order. We will leave it there, although I
have much enjoyed it. The Minister of State has many
important responsibilities and no one in this House
would disagree with the proposition that he always tries,
995 Oral Answers 25 APRIL 2013 Oral Answers 996
which he advanced a few moments ago, but one thing
for which he has no responsibility is the promises and
policies of the United Kingdom Independence party.
Lilian Greenwood (Nottingham South) (Lab): There
is a growing view that by the time the second phase of
HS2 is complete, Crossrail 2 will be essential to cope
with the additional passengers travelling through Euston
station. Is the Minister content that last week’s revised
plan for Euston addresses that problem, or will the
DFT now take the sensible step of assessing fully the
case for Crossrail 2?
Mr Burns: As the hon. Lady knows, Crossrail 2 is the
responsibility of the Mayor of London because it is a
devolvedmatter.However, I accept that there is a knock-on
effect for other rail services that arewholly the responsibility
of the DFT. The Mayor of London announced recently
that there will be a full consultation process. We await
that and look forward to seeing any business case or
justification. Those matters will be considered in due
course, but we have to go through the due processes
first.
John Pugh (Southport) (LD): I was sentenced to two
years on the Crossrail Bill Committee. HS2 is jam
tomorrow; Crossrail is £6 billion now. Isn’t enough
money spent on London proportionately at the moment?
MrBurns: I strongly believe that there is an overwhelming
case for high-speed rail in this country. Indeed, I would
go further and say that we cannot afford not to have
high-speed rail. I regret, as much as I suspect the hon.
Gentleman does, going by his question, the length of
time that it takes to establish any major project in this
country, because it is not in the country’s best interests.
However, it is certainly in the national interest to press
ahead with a high-speed rail network throughout the
country.
Advertisements