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High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:26 pm on 26th June 2013.

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Photo of Patrick McLoughlin Patrick McLoughlin The Secretary of State for Transport 2:26 pm, 26th June 2013

I assure my hon. Friend that, if he has a little patience, I will say something about that exact point a little later.

The PAC requirement states that when there is significant new expenditure that is likely to persist, authority should normally be sought from Parliament. I appreciate that many hon. Members have concerns about the authorisation of expenditure on early works in advance of the subsequent hybrid Bill. That is why this Bill ensures complete transparency in what we are doing, when we are doing it and—crucially—how much we are spending.

The Bill creates a duty on the Secretary of State to produce an annual financial report on the amount of expenditure incurred, allowing Parliament to keep a check on the costs and progress. I hope that that answers the point made by Natascha Engel.