High Speed Rail 2

Scotland – in the House of Commons on 29th June 2022.

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Photo of Chris Elmore Chris Elmore Opposition Whip (Commons), Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on the effect of High Speed Rail 2 on Scotland.

Photo of Iain Stewart Iain Stewart The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland

As I just said in answer to Alan Brown, Scotland is set to benefit from the boost in connectivity and huge economic benefits that HS2 will bring. Scotland will be connected to the HS2 network from the day it opens, and further work will be done in the years ahead to optimise the journey times and capacity. In addition, I am very pleased that 100 permanent jobs will be created at the new HS2 Annandale depot in Dumfries and Galloway.

Photo of Chris Elmore Chris Elmore Opposition Whip (Commons), Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

On the day of the confidence vote in the Prime Minister, the Government tried to sneak out the news that the HS2 Golborne link, a £2 billion rail link between Glasgow and the north-west of England, had been scrapped. How can the Minister say that Scotland will benefit from connecting to HS2 when the Government are secretly trying to get rid of lines linking the north of England with Scotland and reducing the overall connectivity between the nations of the United Kingdom?

Photo of Iain Stewart Iain Stewart The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland

As I have just said to the hon. Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun, the removal of the Golborne link was because Sir Peter Hendy’s connectivity review had found that it was not the best way to address the capacity constraints between Crewe and Preston. However, we are looking at better options for it; we are committed to HS2, and I believe the line will help connectivity between Scotland and England and encourage a modal shift to more environmentally friendly forms of transport.

Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant Conservative, Lichfield

With millions of tonnes of soil being moved across Lichfield, roads closed and the canal obstructed because of HS2, perhaps we can help Scotland by giving them our bit of HS2?

Photo of Iain Stewart Iain Stewart The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland

I know my hon. Friend is a doughty campaigner against HS2, but we have had that debate, I am afraid. I am always happy to discuss with him how we can optimise the building work. I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Transport Secretary, who is sitting next to me, has heard his representations. I am an enormous believer in the potential of high-speed rail links to transform the economic potential of this country.