HS2 Update

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:23 pm on 17th July 2017.

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Photo of Dame Cheryl Gillan Dame Cheryl Gillan Conservative, Chesham and Amersham 10:23 pm, 17th July 2017

I thank you, Mr Speaker, and I thank the Secretary of State for coming to the House to make a statement on this important project at this late time of night—I am willing to discuss HS2 with him any time of the night or day. He has put a great deal of confidence in the contractors he announced today, to which he is awarding £6.6 billion of taxpayers’ money. However, just by glancing at recent news reports, we see that Strabag, an Austrian firm, is pulling out of a hydroelectric plant contract in Bosnia, having sought to increase the contract price. Skanska UK has revealed major project cost overruns and write-downs of £33 million. Costain has yet to reach a settlement for a private finance initiative project contract with the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority, where it has already incurred £15 million of losses. Last December the Health and Safety Commission confirmed that Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Ltd was being prosecuted for three incidents that took place during the construction of the Crossrail tunnel. That is in addition to Carillion’s well documented financial problems, which mean that it is having to restructure. Can he confirm that he knew about all those matters, that he has carried out due diligence on those companies, and that the taxpayer is not in reality carrying unacceptable risks on the construction of HS2?