Now that the House of Commons is sitting again, MPs are asking numerous questions about HS2. Given that the Y route will cost £33 billion to build (or £51 million per constituency) it is entirely reasonable that MPs from all areas will want it throughly scrutinised.
These are from Thursday 18th October.
Mrs Cheryl Gillan (Chesham and Amersham) (Con): On 7 July 2011, in a letter on transparency to all the Secretaries of State, the Prime Minister wrote:
“As you know, transparency is at the heart of our agenda for Government.”
The Department and the Cabinet Office are currently concealing information and refusing to publish the Major Projects Authority report on HS2. Will the Secretary of State now show that the Prime Minister’s words are not meaningless when it comes to HS2 and publish that report immediately?
Mr McLoughlin: HS2 will be the subject of a huge amount of parliamentary time as we prepare the hybrid Bill and bring it before Parliament in the next Session.
Jonathan Edwards (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr) (PC): Arguably one of the benefits of HS2 is that it will create extra capacity on the conventional network. However, these services are highly unlikely to be profitable and will require extra subsidy. What calculations has the Department made about the extra cost of that subsidy and the subsequent Barnett consequentials that the Welsh Government will be entitled to?
Mr McLoughlin: We are some way off getting to that stage. I am dealing with a number of other figures at the moment, so I will take away the hon. Gentleman’s question and think about it a little more deeply, rather than give a rushed answer at the Dispatch Box.
Andrea Leadsom (South Northamptonshire) (Con): Is my right hon. Friend aware of the concerns of constituents up and down the route of the line who have been unable to access the exceptional hardship scheme? When will he start his consultation on fair compensation? We said that we would not allow anybody to have to pay with their own assets or in terms of their own life, and yet that has proven to not be the case.
Mr McLoughlin: I well understand that point and the opposition that HS2 has generated. Any major infrastructure brings about a lot of opposition. I hope to be able to publish the Government’s consultation on compensation in the not-too-distant future.
Cheryl Gillam later commented on Twitter
Not sure the secretary of state for transport even understood my question today on HS2 maybe I had better write another letter!! #hopeful
— Cheryl Gillan MP (@CherylGillanMP) October 18, 2012