HS2: Buckinghamshire

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:12 pm on 29th April 2019.

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Photo of Nusrat Ghani Nusrat Ghani Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Assistant Whip (HM Treasury) 5:12 pm, 29th April 2019

I have not been mansplained to at the Dispatch Box before, but here we are. I am indeed the Minister responsible for this project, and I was passionate about HS2 before I was given the portfolio. I may be a Member of Parliament for the south-east, but I grew up in Birmingham and HS2 just cannot come fast enough for us in the midlands. I do not know what to say to my right hon. and learned Friend about his comments. There is only one budget for HS2, and we will ensure that we can stick to that budget. That is why it is so important to get the business case together: not only to ensure that the costs are covered, but so that we can assess the positives it will bring to our economy. As I mentioned, the notice to proceed will be made public later in the year.

I understand my right hon. and learned Friend’s frustration about some of the conduct undertaken by HS2 Ltd and any upset it may have done to his community. Since I have been Minister, I have insisted on an increase in community engagement managers and that they are appropriately embedded in their community. When cases are brought to my attention, I challenge HS2. We also have a residents’ commissioner to undertake any concerns. It is unfortunate when a project this large is undermined by the behaviour of a few who do not appropriately manage relationships locally. As I said, when it has an impact on a Member’s constituency it is difficult for them to see the greater good it will do not only for that area but for the rest of the country.