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 Chris Grayling Chris Grayling The Secretary of State for Transport 10:23 pm, 17th July 2017

As I said earlier, this project benefits the whole United Kingdom. It will reduce journey times to Scotland, and I am committed to looking at how we ensure those journey times come down on and beyond the HS2 network. I will work closely with my Scottish colleagues to see how best we can achieve that, to deliver what people in Scotland want, which is— [Interruption.] Well, I hate to say this to the Scottish National party, but actually we are the ones who just made ground in Scotland. The hon. Gentleman will not be surprised if I listen to my Scottish colleagues, who seem to me to have their fingers firmly on the pulse of what people in Scotland want. Of course, we will deal with the Scottish Administration, but there is more than one voice for Scotland in this House now.

Service patterns for the future will ultimately depend on timetabling much closer to the time, but I expect to see genuine benefits for people across the network served by HS2 in Scotland, the north of England and north Wales. This investment will lead to better services all around the country. It will deliver better services from the east coast ports; I see my hon. Friend Andrew Percy in his place, and there is a real opportunity to open new routes to those ports on the existing east coast main line. There is a real opportunity to improve the services to cities off the HS2 network that will be served by HS2 trains—Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Preston, Liverpool. This will benefit people on a very widespread basis.

The hon. Gentleman talks about a drop in economic activity. This is a huge project that will feed the supply chain all around the United Kingdom. So this will be good news for Scottish business, good news for English business, good news for Welsh business and good news for Northern Irish business. This is good news for the United Kingdom as a whole.

The hon. Gentleman talked about Carillion. I would hope that everyone in this House would share my ambition that a British company going through a troubled period pulls through and has a stronger future, and I see no reason, when it is part of a consortium that has agreed collectively to deliver for us, why we should hold its current position against it and take away an opportunity that might help that business recover.

Lastly, I do not see how delivering on a Crewe hub that will help connections to north Wales, for example, should in any way disadvantage Scotland.