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Part of High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:15 pm on 15th July 2019.

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Photo of Laura Smith Laura Smith Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office) 5:15 pm, 15th July 2019

Absolutely. The review is incredibly important. What does the review mean for places like Crewe? Crewe has the potential to build on the 360° connectivity it already has to become the key regional hub bridging the north and the midlands. The local enterprise partnership is working alongside Cheshire East Council on a proposal for a Crewe HS2 growth corridor that will bring together strategic development sites in Crewe, Middlewich and Winsford, so that they can build on their traditional strengths in high-value manufacturing. As for the model through which the LEP proposes delivering that corridor, it will invest up front to unlock development, and will be repaid through the generation of new business rates. Any surplus income will be used to help finance station improvements.

I am coming to the end of my speech, Mr Deputy Speaker; I get the impression that I might have pushed my luck a little, but I am still fairly new to this process, so please excuse me. I reiterate that the passing of this Bill is not nearly enough to unlock my constituency’s full potential. I would like the Government to commit to seven HS2 trains per hour stopping at Crewe, and more frequent regional train services to and from Crewe on each of the lines radiating out of the town. A northern junction at Crewe is essential to allow Birmingham-Manchester HS2 services to stop at Crewe, and to allow Crewe to be part of the Northern Powerhouse Rail network, which would open up the possibility of direct service to Leeds and other destinations east of the Pennines.

I am concerned that some appear to be flirting with the idea of scaling back HS2, either through short-sightedness or, worse, for political gain. HS2 has shaped our local planning framework, and so much work has gone into bringing all stakeholders together to realise the potential of HS2 in Crewe that it would be nothing short of tragic if the Government failed to deliver.