High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill

Part of Speaker’s Statement – in the House of Commons at 9:13 pm on 28th April 2014.

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Photo of Andrew Turner Andrew Turner Conservative, Isle of Wight 9:13 pm, 28th April 2014

I am grateful for the opportunity to highlight some of my concerns over HS2. There are a number of issues that I believe make the proposal untenable. I will try to cover them as briefly as I can.

First, we are told that HS2 will produce a good return on investment. If that is really the case, why are private companies not tumbling over themselves to fund the project, instead of using taxpayers’ money, which, as we know, is in short supply? In 1844, over 3,500 miles of rail track were sanctioned. For various reasons, the cost was in the region of £40,000 per mile. Those lines were built entirely by private sector enterprise. Why is that approach not appropriate this time?

My second concern is that we are proposing to build a brand new railway at such great expense. Why are we not looking to increase capacity on existing rail lines and routes? The Government say it is no longer about high speed, so I am not entirely clear what it is all about.