HS2 can make a massive difference to re-balancing the British economy

Julian Smith MP

HS2 can make a massive difference to the rebalancing of the British economy, says Yorkshire MP Julian Smith.

MPs from both sides of the House attended Transport Secretary Justine Greening’s discussion on HS2 (November 21).

The notes from the meeting have just been published online and can be read here.

Typically, there were views expressed for and against HS2, but Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant said it was a shame ‘so few people have been able to turn up.’

Mr Smith, MP for Skipton and Ripon, said he was really keen to get across the enthusiasm for HS2 in Yorkshire.

“It is going to make a massive difference to the re-balancing of the British economy and I think that we should be pushing ahead as quickly as possible,” he said.

Craig Whittaker, MP for Calder Valley in West Yorkshire, said: “Businesspeople in the Calder Valley are absolutely in favour of High Speed Two, and they feel that this is the one single project above anything else that will help towards readdressing the north/south divide.”

Pudsey MP Stuart Andrew (Conservative) said: “I am a huge advocate of HS2. Particularly for my constituency and the city of Leeds, I think the Y-route is extremely welcome.

Graham Evans (Conservative, Weaver Vale) said: “The reason why I argue for High Speed Two is thinking of children who live outside the London area and their future and their job prospects other than in the southeast. There is essentially cross-party support here.  All three major parties have it in their manifestos.”

But former Welsh Secretary John Redwood (Conservative MP for Wokingham) said HS2 should be deferred for at least five years.

“I think the priority, as colleagues have been saying, is to increase the capacity and improve the service quality on the existing West Coast Main Line – a scheme which will be both cheaper and more rewarding than this very elaborate HS2,” he said.

Mr Fabricant (Lichfield) said trains should not operate at very high speeds to allow a route to follow existing transport corridors.

He was supported by Jeremy Wright (Kenilworth & Southam) who said more work should be done to explore alternatives such as enhancing capacity on existing lines.

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