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High Speed 2

Volume 591: debated on Thursday 22 January 2015

4. What estimate he has made of the benefit-cost ratio of the High Speed 2 line north of Manchester. (907137)

The Department has not estimated the case for the western leg of the Y-shaped route for High Speed 2 without the connection to the west coast main line north of Manchester. However, preliminary analysis undertaken by HS2 Ltd suggested that this section of the line is likely to provide revenue of about £600 million and wider benefits in the order of £1.2 billion.

The Minister will be aware that the recent HS2 route review stated that the Wigan spur was under review. Subsequently, HS2 leadership has stated that its recommendation is that the Wigan spur be dropped, saving £2 billion with no detrimental impact on the business case. When will there be an announcement that will clear all of this up?

Certainly all those options are under review. Indeed, in Sir David Higgins’s report “HS2 Plus” he talked about the need to speed up phase 2 and get the Crewe section by 2027, not 2033, with that new integrated hub at Crewe. Connections to the east coast main line and west coast main line are important to ensure that people further north of Manchester and Leeds can benefit from HS2. Further announcements will be made in due course.

On cost-benefit analysis of rail infrastructure and the Wigan spur, does the Minister agree that investment in the Tondu loop to deliver a half-hour instead of an hourly interchange at the Maesteg-Llynfi line would be far better in terms of cost? Will he meet me and Network Rail to discuss the Tondu loop, for which we have been waiting five years?

Yet another wonderful scheme on which the previous Government failed to deliver. I am sure that the Under-Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Claire Perry), will be delighted to meet the hon. Gentleman to discuss that particular scheme.