HS2 in Hansard 24/03/2014

High-speed Rail

3.53 pm
The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Patrick
McLoughlin): The past few days have brought important
proposals to make the most of High Speed 2. They will
help us to build the line better, bring benefits to the
north sooner and support job creation and economic
growth. I wanted to update the House at the first
opportunity and I am sorry that, for unavoidable reasons,
I was unable to do so last week.

The proposals are welcome, because HS2 is a vital
project. It can do for future generationswhat theVictorian
railways did for previous generations and what the
motorways did for ours. That is why it has the strong
support of theGovernment andwhy cities in the midlands
and the north are calling for its benefits to be spread as
widely as possible. We must heed that call, but if that is
to happen, we must also get the basics right, stick to the
cost, plan well, listen, respect the environment, build
what really works and what we need for the future, and
ensure that people get the benefits as quickly as possible.
I know, too, that HS2 is just part, although a vital
part, of our long-termeconomic plan—one that will see
better infrastructure for all parts of our country. It is a
clear and ambitious plan that is already paying dividends,
as shown by last week’s welcome decision by Hitachi,
the company that invented the bullet train, to move its
global rail headquarters to Britain. That is the sort of
opportunity presented by HS2.

First, let me respond to the report by Sir David
Higgins. He began work as chairman of HS2 in January
and the first task I set him was to consider how to
maximise the benefits of HS2 and manage the costs.
Last year, Parliament backed the principle of a high-speed
rail link to the north with 350 votes in favour and only
34 against. It is now up to us to make that happen and,
given his great track record, there is no one better suited
to the job than Sir David Higgins. Let me turn to his
proposals.

First, on costs, Sir David has reviewed the cost estimates
for constructing phase 1 and confirmed that they are
realistic. The budget set by the Government in 2013
stands. As experience shows, in Britain we can build
great projects on time and on budget, such as High
Speed 1, Crossrail and the Olympics. At this early stage,
however, before Parliament has considered the hybrid
Bill, we must include a proper contingency. Of course,
for popularity’s sake, one option would have been to
slash the contingency and claim that as a saving. Sir
David said that that would be wrong and I agree, but, as
he also says, with growing certainty comes growing
confidence. That will be the stage at which we can bring
down the contingency.

Let me turn to Sir David’s second proposal. I have
heard many hon. Members asking why we cannot build
in the north sooner. I agree, and we can. Sir David’s
report suggests opening the new line to a new hub
station in Crewe six years earlier than planned. Direct
trains will of course be able to run off HS2 lines to serve
places such as Stoke, Liverpool, Manchester, north
Wales and Scotland, and faster too, and the line to
Crewe sooner would mean journeys that are shorter
than they would be under phase 1—journeys that are
quicker to Manchester, quicker to Liverpool and quicker
to Scotland. That is a welcome proposal and I am
commissioning HS2 Ltd to undertake the work to allow
it to be considered in detail, but that must be an
acceleration of phase 2 and not an alternative. Sir David
says that we must make the most of this investment so
that as many towns and cities as possible benefit. I
agree, and we will make sure that that happens.

Let me turn to Sir David’s third proposal, for the
south-eastern end of the line. Our priority must be to
get the benefits to the midlands and the north as soon
as possible. In short, we must put the money and time
where they can do the most good. Sir David is clear that
he does not think that the existing proposals for a
HS1-HS2 link meet the test. The HS1-HS2 link proposed
in the hybrid Bill has not secured consensus. It requires
too many compromises in terms of its impact on freight,
passengers and the community in Camden. I therefore
intend to remove the link from the hybrid Bill and
withdraw safeguarding as soon as possible. I will also
commission a study into options for ways to improve
connections to the continent, which could be built once
the initial stages of HS2 are complete.

I also agree with the report that much more can be
made of Euston station, not just to build something of
which we can be proud but to maximise the economic
potential of the line, to use a site that has been neglected
and to generate private sector investment that can reduce
the overall burden on the taxpayer. I will therefore ask
HS2and NetworkRail to develop comprehensive proposals
for the redevelopment of Euston.

Our ambitions for Eustonmust not, however, conflict
with our commitment to control costs. I want to see a
substantial private sector investment to ensure that. Let
me therefore turn to the report from the HS2 growth
taskforce, published lastweek. It comes froman impressive
panel including business leaders such as Sir John Rose,
Alison Nimmo and Ray O’Rourke, city leaders such as
Julie Dore from Sheffield and the general secretary of
the TUC, Frances O’Grady. I thank everyone involved,
and especially the commercial secretary for his committed
leadership. Their message is clear: we need HS2, and we
need to act on how to squeeze the most jobs, skills and
growth from it. The taskforce’s recommendations are
plain common sense. They are things that business, the
Government and cities can do together, and must start
doing now: on skills, proper training to make sure that
our young people get the best jobs on the project; on
planning, ensuring that the line brings new strength to
our cities; and, on transport, making sure that we link
the existing road and rail network properly to HS2 and
plan investment to bring them together.

Regeneration and economic growth are vital parts of
HS2. City leaders have already started to put plans in
place, but the Government have a role to play, too. That
iswhy I amasking HS2 Ltd and London and Continental
Railways, which developed the King’s Cross-St Pancras
site, to come forward with proposals for a regeneration
company that will respond to the growth taskforce’s
recommendations on regeneration. This matters because,
as I have said before, HS2 is a project that will be built
over many Parliaments—and no doubt Governments,
too—and will serve many people through the generations.
It is not the only answer to our transport needs, but it is
a central part of the answer, and that means designing it
carefully and building it right. It is about something
29 24 MARCH 2014 High-speed Rail 30
[Mr Patrick McLoughlin]
that works, something of which we can be proud, and
something that benefits as many people and places as
possible at the lowest cost.

We are on schedule to open the line in 2026 which, by
the way, is exactly the date that the previous Government
set in 2010, or ahead of time in the case of the Crewe
proposals. The Government are keen to rise to the
challenge and I hope that hon. Members on both sides
of the House will do the same.

4.2 pm
Mary Creagh (Wakefield) (Lab): I thank the Secretary
of State for advance notice and early sight of the
statement. May I also congratulate Sir David Higgins
and Lord Deighton on their substantial and thorough
reports?

Transforming rail capacity south of Birmingham and
improving connectivity north of Birmingham are vital
and will transform our great cities. We support HS2
because of the capacity constraints that too many
commuters on our railways face. We will continue to
hold the Government to account for keeping costs
down on the project. We will vote in support of the
hybrid Bill when the Government finally bring it to
Parliament.

DavidHiggins has made it clear that there are significant
savings to be made if Ministers get a grip of this project
and stop the delays. He says:
“a lower budget for Phase One could be set at some point…but
only when the legislative timetable becomes clearer and more
certain.”

What steps is the Secretary of State taking to ensure
that the phase 1 hybrid Bill is put before the House as
soon as possible? The Governmentmust now act so that
the scheme can be delivered under budget.
Sir David recommended, and the Secretary of State
has acted, to scrap the link between HS1 and HS2. That
is welcome because the link was set to cause huge
disruption to large parts of Camden. At Euston,
Sir David proposes central London’s biggest regeneration
site, with a mix of retail, office and residential units.
Given the acute affordable housing crisis in Camden, a
significant proportion of any new housing must be
social housing. Does the Secretary of State agree that
the community and council must be fully involved in
those plans?

At Old Oak Common, where significant regeneration
is planned, there is as yet no decision fromtheGovernment
about the relocation of the First Great Western and
Heathrow Express train depots. When can we expect a
decision about linking HS2 and Crossrail into the west
coast main line at Old Oak Common? That is key to
maximising the development potential of the area and
to improving the capacity for commuter services into
Euston, which is crucial if there is to be a longer
construction phase at Euston. When will those three
important decisions be made? What contact has the
Secretary of State had with the Mayor about setting up
a development corporation to take regeneration plans
for Old Oak Common forwards?

Sir David has listened to concerns from cities such as
Milton Keynes, Northampton, Rugby, Stoke, Leigh
and—yes—my city of Wakefield about how the line will
connect to the current railway network and how their
services into London can be improved. When can we
expect the Government’s response to those significant
issues in Sir David’s report?

On phase 2, we are glad that HS2 will link to future
Network Rail classic rail investment and that the
connections between our great northern and midland
cities thatwe have called for have replaced theGovernment’s
previous take-it-or-leave-it approach.Wewant a coherent
transport plan for the north and the midlands, which
have been historically underfunded, and for proper
east-west links between Liverpool and Manchester and
Leeds and Hull. A rebalancing of railway investment
into the regions to close the economic divide: that is
how we maximise the benefits for the whole country
from this project.

We welcome the faster construction of phase 2 to
bring benefits more quickly to the northern cities and
north Wales. Will the Minister tell the House when the
hybrid Bill for phase 2 would need to be completed in
order to get to the north-west by 2026, as Sir David
recommends? Sir David also recommends that discussions
between council and business leaders and theGovernment
should be conducted on a regional rather than a bilateral
basis.When do the Government envisage such meetings
starting, given the imperative to work fast to reduce
costs?When will theGovernment announce their response
to the phase 2 route consultation in order to get it
started more quickly?

I turn to Lord Deighton’s growth taskforce report.
He is correct that HS2 must become the spine for jobs,
growth and regeneration in our country. His report
wants cities to set up locally led delivery bodies to
maximise the regeneration that High Speed 2 will bring.
He warns:
“Even the very best authorities will be stretched to manage a
project as complex and large as HS2”.
What help will the Government give councils whose
budgets have been cut by 40% over this Parliament in
order to do that? He says that land for development
should be bought early before land prices rise and to
reduce blight around the station sites. When will the
Secretary of State set out which costs will be included in
the costs of the High Speed 2 railway and which are
excluded, so that councils can budget accordingly?
On transport, Lord Deighton wants the Government
to set out their plans for commuter rail in non-high
speed areas by the end of the year.Will the Secretary of
State undertake to publish such a plan?
On skills, Lord Deighton warns that the railway work
force are ageing. Some 10,000 new people are needed to
work on the railways in the next five years alone, and he
also states:
“Railways have an image problem.”
How does the Secretary of State plan to transform that
image to entice young people from both sexes to work
on the railways?
When will the site of the High Speed 2 skills college
be announced? Wherever it is located, it must not be a
stand-alone institution; it must reach out to cities and
towns across the UK that have young people who want
to work on High Speed 2. Which Minister is overseeing
that skills work and how can procurement processes
drive up the number of apprentices on the project?
31 High-speed Rail 24 MARCH 2014 High-speed Rail 32
On small and medium-sized enterprises procurement,
the Minister must learn lessons from Crossrail, where
SME contract numbers are high on volume, but the
total value of those contracts is uncertain. We must
ensure that the High Speed pound reaches all parts of
the UK. It is vital that we maximise the opportunities
that the new north-south line brings to our country.We
are behind the project. We wait for the Government to
rise to the challenge.

Mr McLoughlin: I thank the hon. Lady for her support.
I am not sure how many questions she asked me, but I
will try to answer the vast majority of the points she
raised. There will be other points on which I shall
respond to her in due course.

The right hon. Member for Holborn and St Pancras
(Frank Dobson) has been a long-time critic of the
HS1-HS2 link. It is right that we needed not only to
listen to what local communities said, but to look at
how we get a better link between the two stations of
Euston and St Pancras.We are talking about a fundamental
redevelopment of the whole of Euston station, which I
think is the right thing to do. Anybody who has looked
at those three stations over the past 20 years will have
seen stations, particularly St Pancras and King’s Cross,
where one would not really have wanted to spend any
time at all. Today, they are destinations in their own
right and show what can be done with proper work and
careful consideration. That is why I think that a complete
regeneration of Euston is necessary. I hope that we can
address those problems.With regard toOld Oak Common,
the Mayor has already announced his intention to set
up a development corporation. I have regular meetings
with him. In fact, I have one coming up this week.
It is right that we look at the overall cost, which of
course is an important consideration. There is a £14 billion
contingency built into the current budget of £42 billion.
It has been left in place because at this early stage that is
thought to be the right thing to do. One of the reasons
why costs have gone up—it is important to reflect on
this—is that we have taken exceptional steps to try to
meet some of the environmental concerns that have
been raised by many hon. Members, their constituents
and communities. I do not apologise for that, because it
is right that something that will be there for the next
150 years is built correctly and properly, as it will be.
The hon. Lady made an important point about skills
development and the opportunities that that can bring,
for example through apprenticeships. I will be looking
at Crossrail, which I think has done incredibly well in
trying to spread the benefits across the country, even
though it is a London project. It benefits London in
particular, but it also brings great benefits to the United
Kingdom and the regions. I will also be looking at how
Crossrail has tried to improve apprenticeships and develop
skills across the industry. By the time it ends, the shovels
will be on the sites for HS2, so hopefully there will be
some cross-over.

This should send out a message to young people that
the railway industry has a great future.What has happened
to the industry over the past 20 years, with the number
of passenger journeys rising from750 million to 1.5 billion
and continual growth each year, shows people who
want a long-term future that the industry certainly
offers good opportunities and work prospects. That is
why it is important. I will write to hon. Lady in due
course on the other points she raised.

Mr Simon Burns (Chelmsford) (Con): The Higgins
report is excellent and fully justifies SirDavid’s appointment.
However, can my right hon. Friend give the House a
categorical assurance that the money that is to be spent
on High Speed 2 will in no way affect the record billions
being spent in control period 5 on the conventional
railway and what is likely to be spent in control periods 6,
7 and 8?

Mr McLoughlin: May I first put on the record my
appreciation for the contribution my right hon. Friend
made to this project? He was also the last Minister to
meet Hitachi in Japan and so might have had a great
influence on its decision to move its rail headquarters to
the UK. I congratulate him on that. He is absolutely
right; some £38.5 billion will be invested in the rail
network over the next five years, excluding the money
being spent on HS2. It is absolutely essential that we
make that long-term investment in our railways.
Mrs Louise Ellman (Liverpool, Riverside) (Lab/Co-op):
The reports from Sir David Higgins and the taskforce
are very important documents. However, following the
question from the right hon. Member for Chelmsford
(Mr Burns), how can the Secretary of State demonstrate
that investment in High Speed 2 will go together with
investment in the existing classic line so that the whole
network benefits?

Mr McLoughlin: The hon. Lady, as Chair of the
Transport Committee, has spent a lot of time looking at
that, and indeed has taken evidence from me, Network
Rail and Sir David Higgins over recent months. She will
know that there is huge investment. In her city, for
example, in May this year we will see the first express
train running from Liverpool to Manchester, which I
welcome. It is part of the northern hub, with over
£500 million of investment linking Liverpool, Manchester,
Leeds and, eventually, Hull.

Mrs Cheryl Gillan (Chesham and Amersham) (Con):
It is a reflection of the poor genesis of the project that,
four years down the line, the Secretary of State is still
making fundamental adjustments to the plans for HS2.
It does not matter how many studies or justifications he
puts forward, he needs to understand that for many of
my constituents, it is like putting lipstick on a pig.
However glossy the lipstick, HS2 is still a pig.
I am sad that the Secretary of State can stand at the
Dispatch Box and say that he respects the environment
when we are still not to have full tunnelling under the
whole area of outstanding natural beauty in the Chilterns
andwhen neither Front-Bench team have had the decency
to talk about compensation. My constituents, and many
people up and down the line, still do not know what the
compensation package is, and it is about time that he
came to the Dispatch Box and announced the generous
and fair compensation that the PrimeMinister promised.

Mr McLoughlin: I hope very soon to be able to make
announcements about the Government’s proposals for
compensation. I would just say to my right hon. Friend
that on one hand I am attacked for listening to people,
33 High-speed Rail 24 MARCH 2014 High-speed Rail 34
[Mr McLoughlin]
and then on the other hand I am attacked for not
listening to people. I suppose that is just one of the
problems of dealing with big infrastructure projects—
wherever we take them, there will always be people who
are directly affected, and they will not be convinced of
the necessity of them. However, I am convinced of the
necessity of high-speed rail for our cities in the north.

Frank Dobson (Holborn and St Pancras) (Lab): I
welcome the Secretary of State’s decision to abandon
the ridiculous proposal for the High Speed 2-High
Speed 1 link across Camden Town, and I also welcome
Opposition Front Benchers’ support on that matter.
However, I cannot say the same about the proposal to
go ahead with an even bigger redevelopment of Euston
than was proposed before. It will mean that the homes
of more than 500 people will be destroyed, and that the
lives of about 5,000 people will be subjected for a
decade to the noise, filth and disruption of the biggest
engineering project in Europe. I hope that, even at this
stage, at a time when looking back, looking forward
and coming to different decisions is apparently still on
the cards, the Government will at least consider having
the initial London terminus at Old Oak Common.

Mr McLoughlin: The right hon. Gentleman has been
consistent on the HS1-HS2 link. I do not need to tell
him about the difference that has been made to the area
around King’sCross and St Pancras in his constituency—it
is plainly there for all to see. Those of us who use St
Pancras station faced a lot of inconvenience at the time
when that development was going on, but given what
we see today, it was worth it.

Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con): My right hon.
Friend will know that Lichfield will be badly affected by
HS2, with phase 1 ending and phase 2 beginning in the
constituency. As a consequence, a line running from
east to west will join what was to be the end of phase 1
with the west coast main line. That work will transform
the leafy lanes of Lichfield into the marshalling yards of
Lichfield. What hope can he give my constituents that
the temporary east-west line will no longer have to go
ahead, and that there will be significant improvements
in the environmental plans proposed for Lichfield?

Mr McLoughlin: I am always ready to listen to my
hon. Friend’s comments and points on these matters. I
believe that, overall, HS2 will bring great benefit to the
midlands, including Birmingham, which is an important
city close to his own city of Lichfield. It is a matter of
ensuring that areas such as his can also benefit from
high-speed rail.

JonathanReynolds (Stalybridge andHyde) (Lab/Co-op):
The Higgins report specifically highlights poor east-west
connectivity as a problem on the rail network, such as
that between Manchester and Leeds, to which I would
add that between Manchester and Sheffield, which is
directly relevant to Stalybridge and Hyde. Will the
Secretary of State go into more detail about how he
plans to integrate Network Rail’s existing investment
plans with the relevant phase of HS2, specifically to
address the east-west connectivity issue?

Mr McLoughlin: The hon. Gentleman mentions the
rail line that goes through the top end of my constituency,
so I am familiar with his points. Our plans for the
northern hub will greatly enhance the services he receives,
as will ensuring that we build them in to benefit from
HS2, which is possible. On Thursday a number of
parliamentary colleagues will come on the high-speed
Javelin line. It goes to Ashford and continues to service
other parts of Kent, and it has been very successful.

Sir John Randall (Uxbridge and SouthRuislip) (Con):
I thank my right hon. Friend for making the statement
to the House. My constituents and residents in the
London borough of Hillingdon look forward eagerly to
the statements on compensation. As I am sure he is
aware, the borough of Hillingdon still has some outstanding
matters, and the most pressing—which I ask him to
look at urgently—is the relocation of Hillingdon outdoor
activities centre. That is a valuable asset, and we must
resolve its future shortly.

Mr McLoughlin: My right hon. Friend has never lost
an opportunity to make that case for Hillingdon, and I
assure him that I will look into it. I reassure him that
I hope to say something about compensation in the very
near future.

Graham Stringer (Blackley and Broughton) (Lab):
These are two excellent reports, and the Secretary of
State is right to talk about ensuring that rail links help
to provide the economic benefits from the high-speed
links.When lines in the north of England are electrified,
can he guarantee that, following the fiasco of the
TransPennine Express, there will be electric trains to
run on them?

Mr McLoughlin: Before we start talking about fiascos
and theTransPennine Express, I chide the hon. Gentleman
for not pushing a bit further and getting more electrification
when he sat on the Government Benches, and getting
more rolling stock—[Interruption.] He says he did, but
he did not succeed. We are doing it, we are succeeding,
and we will order the rolling stock.

Greg Mulholland (Leeds NorthWest) (LD): I support
linking our northern cities with high-speed rail, but
does the Secretary of State understand the concerns on
the east side of the Pennines about the announcement
of the Crewe hub? All along we were given assurances
that the link to Sheffield and Leeds would happen at the
same time as Manchester. Will he commit to looking at
the “High Speed UK” proposal that links more cities
more quickly and for considerably less cost?

Mr McLoughlin: There is a recommendation on the
Crewe hub and I have not made a full decision on it yet.
A consultation is going on about the Y section from
Birmingham to Manchester and Birmingham to Leeds.
It is important I do that properly, which is exactly what
I will do.

Mark Lazarowicz (Edinburgh North and Leith) (Lab/
Co-op): The recommendation for the line to reach
Crewe by 2026 is welcome, but does it allow for any
possibility of the other sections of HS2 further north
being completed earlier—and, if not, why not? How
does the Higgins study impact on the study being
35 High-speed Rail 24 MARCH 2014 High-speed Rail 36
carried by the UK and Scottish Governments to ensure
that the benefits of HS2 reach Scotland as soon as
possible?

Mr McLoughlin: The extension to Crewe will have a
positive impact on Scotland. As I have said, trains will
be able to continue running on, and the fact that they
will go further up will have a positive benefit. That
should reassure the hon. Gentleman.

Mr William Cash (Stone) (Con): As the Secretary of
State knows, my constituents are completely against
these proposals and have been from the beginning.
Furthermore, they are looking for proper compensation
on principles that he knows I put forward in amendments
to the project.Will he consider increasing compensation
in line with the criteria that have already been provided
to him in my amendments?

Mr McLoughlin: The full consultation process for the
part of the line that goes through my hon. Friend’s
constituency is ongoing, and no final decision has been
made. I hope to be able to say something about the
compensation relating to phase 1 very shortly.

Mr Jack Straw (Blackburn) (Lab): May I thank
the Secretary of State for the report and congratulate
Sir David Higgins on it? Does the Secretary of State
accept that the data on page 8 of Sir David Higgins’s
report, which show that investment per head in London
and the south-east has been running at least three times
that of any other region, emphasise his point that this is
not a zero-sum game between HS2 investment and
investment in other services but rather the reverse—that
this investment, properly co-ordinated with control period 6,
should beget further investment in rail services across
the north?

Mr McLoughlin: I am grateful to the right hon.
Gentleman; I think he is right. I will not chastise him
about when this huge extra expenditure in London was
first committed to—we will leave that to one side.What
is important is getting the long term investment in
infrastructure right for all the northern cities. That is
vital to all of us who care about those cities, and those
connections, and about making sure that they have the
right opportunities. As I said in my statement, this kind
of project does not happen over one Parliament but
runs over several Parliaments. That is why it is so
important to have asmuch cross-party support as possible
for such a big scheme. I believe that this will be an
evolutionary change in transport. As I said, it will do
for future generations what the motorways have done
for today’s generation.

Sir Tony Baldry (Banbury) (Con): My right hon.
Friend will clearly come to the House in due course
with a statement on compensation. Will he give an
undertaking that during the proceedings on the hybrid
Bill he and ministerial colleagues in the Treasury will be
willing to listen to suggestions on how the compensation
scheme can be further refined, improved and targeted?

Mr McLoughlin: Of course I am always prepared to
listen; that is partlywhatwe have been doing in consulting
on the existing scheme. People often come forward with
proposals that increase the cost and then complain that
the cost has been increased, so it is quite important that
we get the balance right on these projects.

Joan Walley (Stoke-on-Trent North) (Lab): In view
of the Secretary of State’s commitment on Government
funding to look at the prospects for opening up the line
to Crewe that much earlier, what are the implications
for the alternative proposal made by Stoke-on-Trent?

MrMcLoughlin: SirDavid has made a recommendation
to me and I am asking for work to be done on it. It is
right that I then consider that alongside the representations
that have been made by other cities in the north as part
of the final consultation process. I am still engaged in
that process, and I will do so.

Mark Reckless (Rochester and Strood) (Con): I am
all in favour of better links with Europe, at least in this
context. Does the Secretary of State accept, however,
that most of the demand for an HS1-HS2 link will be
domestic?Will he learn from the sub-optimal interchange
at Stratford and consider installing a travelator to get
people quickly and easily between St Pancras and Euston?

Mr McLoughlin: One of the problems at the moment
is that people cannot get to the northern cities by
high-speed trains, yet they can get to Europe in that
way. I want the people of Birmingham and Manchester
to have the same opportunities as those who wish to
travel from London to Paris or London to Brussels.My
hon. Friend is absolutely right about the need to have a
good link between Euston and St Pancras. Sir David
says in his report, and has said to me, that that can be
done at amuch more efficient rate than what is currently
planned under the High Speed 1-High Speed 2 link,
which will now be removed from the Bill.

Mr Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith) (Lab): I welcome
the Government’s continued commitment to the Old
Oak Common interchange, but I am alarmed that they
are handing control of the whole area, including
Wormwood Scrubs, to the Mayor of London, with
instructions that any developmentmust exclude separate
funding schemes. Some 24,000 new homes are planned
for Old Oak. How will the Government ensure that
some of these are affordable homes for Londoners, and
not the empty luxury flats for foreign investors that the
Mayor prefers?

Mr McLoughlin: The hon. Gentleman is wrong about
what the Mayor prefers. I think I am right in saying that
he was one of the supporters of a Mayor for London.
Perhaps he just does not like the democratic outcome
and the Mayor he has today. I think the Mayor knows
exactly what is needed at Old Oak Common and will act
on it.

PaulMaynard (Blackpool North and Cleveleys) (Con):
As someone born in Crewe, I add my gratitude for any
proposals to improve this transport renaissance. Will
the Secretary of State clarify whether the connection to
the west coast main line at Crewe will obviate the need
for a connection atWigan, as was proposed earlier? I do
not wish to restrict the shadow Health Secretary’s future
freedom of manoeuvre in this regard.
37 High-speed Rail 24 MARCH 2014 High-speed Rail 38

Mr McLoughlin: I did not realise that my hon. Friend
originally came fromCrewe, which given its connections
is a very important railway town, always has been and
always will be. I will want to consider his point about
the later connections on to the west coast main line in
the light of Sir David Higgins’s recommendations.

Mr Jim Cunningham (Coventry South) (Lab): Given
that Coventry will not benefit from high-speed rail,
what will the Secretary of State do about the potential
investment vacuum in Coventry and similar cities, and
what will he do about negative equity?

Mr McLoughlin: I very much believe and hope that
HS2 will be beneficial to Coventry. The entire west
midlands benefits from HS2 and Coventry is certainly
part of that wider west midlands conurbation. I want to
see greater interconnection between the cities, and we
have the time to plan and get that right. In this control
period and the next one for Network Rail, we will be
able to build on certain proposals that I know Coventry
wants. Representatives of Coventry have been to see me
and made recommendations about certain line
improvements that they want to see.

Mr RobinWalker (Worcester) (Con): KPMGpredicts
benefits of more than £200 million for Worcestershire’s
economy fromHS2, so I broadly welcome the statement,
but can the Secretary of State reassure my constituents
that nothing in it precludes investment in faster trains
between London andWorcester to address the absurdity
that a journey of 130 miles, which took under two
hours in 1910, takes more than two and a half hours
today?

Mr McLoughlin: My hon. Friend is right. One of the
problems that HS2 addresses in a way that no other
proposals put before us will address is capacity. I very
much hope that it will free up other journeys so that we
can have faster journey times fromcities such asWorcester.

Cathy Jamieson (Kilmarnock and Loudoun) (Lab/Coop):
The Minister will be aware that concerns have been
expressed about the time for redevelopment at Euston
and the potential impact on the west coast main line
from Glasgow. Will he say more about that and about
any impact on the Caledonian Sleeper service, which is
important to the Scottish economy?

Mr McLoughlin: I fully accept that while huge works
are going on at a station, there is disruption, so one of
the questions that must be asked in the planning phase
that HS2 is currently going through is how we minimise
that. Inconvenience was caused at St Pancras for a
number of years while redevelopment was going on,
but, as I said earlier, nobody doubts that it was worth
going through the pain as we have a far better station
than we had previously, and I very much hope we can
do the same for Euston.

Martin Vickers (Cleethorpes) (Con): As the Transport
Secretary knows,my constituency is a major hub for the
rail freight industry. The growth taskforce suggested
that the Government should invite the rail freight industry
to set out how best it can take advantage of extra
capacity on the existing network. Can my right hon.
Friend outline what plans he has for this?

Mr McLoughlin: One thing that is curtailing growth
in the freight market in theUKis the capacity problems.
I hope that, by freeing up capacity, we will see a lot
more freight travelling on our railway lines. I urge the
freight industry to come forward with proposals on how
we can improve the situation, which I think we can.

Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North)
(Lab): In the light of the taskforce’s recommendations,
will the Secretary of State confirm when he will set out
the Government’s plan for how HS2 will affect the rail
services of cities that are not on the route, such as
Newcastle?

Mr McLoughlin: Newcastle will benefit from faster
trains running up to Leeds and being able to continue
on their current routes. The hon. Lady is right that
more work needs to be done on that. It will be done and
I will come to the House when it is complete.

Stephen Mosley (City of Chester) (Con): I welcome
the report and the Secretary of State’s statement. Opponents
of HS2 in the north-west have claimed that although it
might be beneficial for Manchester, it might suck investment
out of other towns and cities in the north-west. Does
my right hon. Friend agree that a new regional hub at
Crewe will allow the benefits of HS2 to roll out to
places such as Liverpool, north Wales and, of course,
Chester, and support economic growth in those areas?

Mr McLoughlin: My hon. Friend represents a great
city, which I have visited on many occasions. It will
receive benefits from Crewe. The Under-Secretary of
State for Education, my hon. Friend the Member for
Crewe and Nantwich (Mr Timpson), who joins me on
the Front Bench, has made it clear that the station will
not only be very important for his constituency, but will
serve the whole of the north-west, including the great
city of Chester.

Jonathan Edwards (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr)
(PC): The LabourWelsh Government recently changed
their view on the Barnett consequentials from HS2,
following questions from the Financial Times on why
they were not backing Plaid Cymru’s position on a fair
share forWales.What representations has the Secretary
of State received from the Welsh Government or the
official Opposition to demand a fair share for my
country?

Mr McLoughlin: There is no doubt that Wales will
benefit from HS2. NorthWales, in particular, will benefit
from the proposals in Sir David’s latest report to build
the line faster further north, because Crewe is a major
interchange that serves north Wales.

Eric Ollerenshaw (Lancaster and Fleetwood) (Con):
If I understand the Secretary of State’s announcement
correctly, high-speed rail will get nearer to Lancashire
earlier,which obviously is a good thing.What implications
does that have for earlier planning for an HS3 that goes
beyond Manchester and Leeds?

Mr McLoughlin: If my hon. Friend does not mind, I
think that that is a debate for another occasion. He is
right that HS2 will have a major impact on the cities it
serves and that we will have to go further as a result.
39 High-speed Rail 24 MARCH 2014 High-speed Rail 40

Helen Jones (Warrington North) (Lab): Despite the
reports, it remains the case that the initial preferred
route for the second part of HS2 will devastate parts of
Warrington, with the loss of businesses and jobs, and
will possibly give us a worse service in the long run.
Does not the proposal of a regional hub at Crewe give
more impetus to the suggestion byWarrington borough
council and others of a preferred route that would be of
huge benefit to the western part of the region?

MrMcLoughlin: As I have said, a period of consultation
is going on and I amlistening to the representations.No
firm decision has yet been taken. The Higgins report
states what Sir David believes would be the best way
forward at the moment. I will certainly consider that,
but I will also consider other recommendations and
representations.

Jason McCartney (Colne Valley) (Con): I very much
welcome the cross-party support for this transformative
project. On the Higgins report and the proposed new
Crewe interchange, will the Secretary of State do everything
he can to give clarity and certainty to the Yorkshire leg
of the Y, so that we can crack on with investing in and
regenerating the areas around the proposed new stations
at Leeds and Sheffield, and along the branch lines, such
as the one from Huddersfield to Sheffield which goes
throughmy constituency, that will bring better connectivity?

Mr McLoughlin: I am grateful to my hon. Friend. He
is asking us to take on board the wider implications of
HS2 across the area that it serves. I will certainly do
that.

Lucy Powell (Manchester Central) (Lab/Co-op): The
Secretary of State echoes Sir David Higgins’s call for
the benefits to be brought to the north-west and north
of England faster. Other than the Crewe interchange—
which I welcome, but which should not be seen as the
only solution—what other avenues is he looking at?
Will he speak with leaders of local authorities in places
such as Manchester to bring forward funding and proposals
sooner rather than later?

Mr McLoughlin: I am in touch with Sir Richard
Leese, the leader of Manchester city council about the
issues.Manchester has made some imaginative proposals
on how the station should be built alongside Piccadilly
station, and they are being looked at. There are good
communications between the northern leaders and the
Government on this issue.

Mr Gary Streeter (South West Devon) (Con): My
right hon. Friend knows that the people of the far
south-west do not speak much about high-speed rail:
our focus is simply on rail and getting reconnected to
London after the storms of the winter. Can he assure us
that, at the same time as spending all this money on the
north and midlands, he will have sufficient to invest in
an alternative or additional route between Plymouth
and Exeter as soon as it has been identified by Network
Rail?

Mr McLoughlin: My hon. Friend has long been an
advocate of better rail services in the south-west.Following
the storms, I said that I had asked Network Rail to do
some detailed work on possible alternatives for the
south-west, and that is happening. Network Rail is
doing a huge amount of work to ensure the swift
reopening of the Dawlish line, which is on course to
happen on 4 April.

Stephen Pound (Ealing North) (Lab): In congratulating
my right hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and
St Pancras (Frank Dobson) on his tenacity and hailing
the relief of Camden as a consummation devoutly to
be wished, may I tell the Secretary of State that the
dispassionate observer would still feel that the lack of
connectivity between HS1 and HS2 represents a problem
for the future? Will he give thought to the possibility of
an underground connection from Old Oak Common?

Mr McLoughlin: Many suggestions have been made
for the connection between HS1 and HS2. First, all the
high-speed trains are likely to stop atOld Oak Common,
which will also be served by Crossrail, and secondly
Euston and St Pancras stations are not that far apart.
Sarah Newton (Truro and Falmouth) (Con): HS2
could have real benefits for Cornwall, especially if the
First Great Western train depot at Old Oak Common
were relocated to Penzance. My right hon. Friend has
received proposals from me, First Great Western and
the local enterprise partnership. When will he let us
know his decision?

Mr McLoughlin: My hon. Friend raises one of the
many issues that need to be considered and resolved,
but Old Oak Common is likely to become a major new
transport focus for future generations, and will have an
important role to play. Getting the maximumdevelopment
in that area will also be very important.

Mike Kane (Wythenshawe and Sale East) (Lab): I
thank the Secretary of State for his statement and
declare my interest, in that HS2 phase 2 will go directly
under my house. Will he confirm the future journey
times from Euston to Manchester airport in my
constituency, now that phase 1 has been extended to
Crewe?

Mr McLoughlin: I welcome the hon. Gentleman to
the House. I am delighted to see him in his place, but I
wish that his predecessor was still there—as I am sure
we all do. He was a big supporter of HS2 and believed
that it would bring tremendous benefits to his city of
Manchester—I agree.
If we build to Crewe, as suggested by Sir David
Higgins, it will result in immediate time improvements
for Manchester, but I know that what people want to
see is the connection to Manchester airport as well as to
the city itself.

Alec Shelbrooke (Elmet andRothwell) (Con): Speeding
up delivery for this major infrastructure project for the
north is to be welcomed, but—as my hon. Friends the
Members for Leeds NorthWest (Greg Mulholland) and
for Colne Valley (Jason McCartney) suggested—deep
concern is felt in westYorkshire that economic advantage
may come for the west side of the Pennines earlier than
it will inYorkshire if the extension goes beyond Birmingham
before it goes to Manchester and then Leeds. I urge my
right hon. Friend to engage more with the westYorkshire
councils to ensure that they have a strong, positive and
41 High-speed Rail 24 MARCH 2014 High-speed Rail 42
[Alec Shelbrooke]
simple message about the advantages of HS2, as their
colleagues on the west side of the Pennines did, and
which I am sure has influenced Sir David Higgins in his
recommendation to extend on that side first, rather
than ours.

Mr McLoughlin: I hear what my hon. Friend says.
There has, rightly, been involvement: Julie Dore, the
leader of Sheffield city council, was a member of the
taskforce. The taskforce has stated that cities need to
prepare, so thatwe can consider the long-termconsequences
of overall transport investment. They need to prepare
for the benefits that HS2 will bring to their areas.

Mr David Hanson (Delyn) (Lab): I welcome the fact
that the Secretary of State used the two words “north
Wales” in his statement. He will have my support for the
speedy development at Crewe to link to north Wales.
Does he accept that this is about not just speed, but
capacity?What steps will he take to increase capacity to
north Wales, and, by extension, to Ireland?

MrMcLoughlin: The right hon. Gentleman is absolutely
right. Too many people talk about high-speed trains as
though they are just about speed. They are not just
about speed. When Lord Adonis launched the initial
plans he talked a lot, as I have done since I have been
Secretary of State for Transport, about the need for
additional capacity. One of the biggest reasons for the
new railway line is capacity on links between north and
south, and the extra capacity we need at Euston. He is
absolutely right: we need to ensure that that capacity
serves north Wales well.

Guy Opperman (Hexham) (Con): The success and
efficacy of HS2 in the north-east would be greatly
improved if we reopened the Leamside line in future
control periods. Will the Transport team look at this
crucial improvement, and consider creating the HS2
skills academy in the north-east?

Mr McLoughlin: Surprisingly, my hon. Friend is the
first Member today to mention locating the skills academy
in his region. That is probably because other Members
have been asking questions on the details and might
have felt that they would be testing your patience,
Mr Speaker, if they also made a bid for the academy.
The skills academy is essential to getting the message
across to young people that engineering and the railways
offer good opportunities for them in the long term.

Jenny Chapman (Darlington) (Lab): My constituency
of Darlington is the indisputable birthplace of the
railways—I think there are no Members for Stockton
present—and my constituents currently enjoy a very
good service to London. They are delighted that people
in Leeds will soon be able to enjoy a good service too,
but are concerned that that must not be at the expense
of investment in the east coast main line. Will the
Secretary of State commit to that not being the case?

Mr McLoughlin: Indeed I will. We are committed to
providing brand new rolling stock for the east coast
main line: one of the biggest orders placed for the
railways has been signed off by the Government. I am
delighted we have done that.

Sheila Gilmore (Edinburgh East) (Lab): Sir David
Higgins stresses the importance of existing lines and
HS2working together.Will the Secretary of State reconsider
the current plans for trains fromScotland to Birmingham
and London to bypass Manchester and Leeds? Is this
an opportunity to reconsider the possibility of linking
them up?

Mr McLoughlin: It is essential that all these suggestions
are considered. HS2 will fundamentally change capacity
on our railway lines. Itwill give usmanymore opportunities
not just for passenger numbers, but for more freight. In
the past 10 years, there has been a 60% increase in
freight. The issue of capacity is what is holding back a
further increase. The west coast main line is the busiest
railway line in Europe. An increase in capacity will free
up a lot of other services and opportunities.

Mr Speaker: I am pleased to be able to advise the
House that 37 Back Benchers were able to contribute in
37 minutes of exclusively Back-Bench time. I suggest
that the Secretary of State issue his manual on pithy
replies to all members of the Cabinet, who would profit
greatly from reading that text. The journey time was
very satisfactory.

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Mr Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for
Transport what evaluation his Department has made of
the costs and benefits of linking the proposed phase
two of High Speed 2 to the West Coast Main Line at
Crewe instead of at Golborne junction. [192911]

Mr Goodwill: The Strategic Case for HS2 published
on 29 October 2013 sets out the business case for
proceeding with HS2. It shows that theY-shaped network
including the connections to the west coast main line at
both Crewe and Golborne is expected to deliver around
£2.30 of benefits (including Wider Economic Impacts)
for every £1 spent. The Department has not estimated
the case for the Y-shaped route for High Speed 2
without these connections. However, HS2 Ltd examined
the possibility of only linking High Speed 2 to the west
coast main line at Crewe, and eliminating the junction
at Golborne. They identified significant constraints in
the west coast main line north of Crewe and additional
works would be required here as the line is intensively
used by fast long-distance services, slower stopping
trains and freight, causing significant timetabling constraints.
Taking into account the levels of growth being experienced
to date, both in terms of passenger and freight traffic,
the west coast main line would not be able to cope with
the overall volume of services required. Therefore the
section of line between Winterbottom and Bamfurlong
culminating in the Golborne connection is likely to
offer very high value for money when compared against
the alternative connection at Crewe and associatedWCML
modification work.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/chan141.pdf

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