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Written Statements

Volume 682: debated on Tuesday 13 October 2020

Written Statements

Tuesday 13 October 2020

Defence

Overseas Defence Operations

The Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill currently before this House will provide reassurance to service personnel that we have taken steps to help protect them from the threat of repeated investigations and potential prosecution in connection with historical operations overseas many years after the events in question. However, we are also clear that there should be timely consideration of serious and credible allegations and, where appropriate, a swift and effective investigation followed by prosecution, if warranted. In the rare cases of real wrongdoing, the culprits should be swiftly and appropriately dealt with. In doing so, this will provide greater certainty to all parties that the justice system processes will deliver an appropriate outcome without undue delay.

I am therefore commissioning a review so that we can be sure that, for those complex and serious allegations of wrongdoing against UK forces which occur overseas on operations, we have the most up to date and future-proof framework, skills and processes in place and can make improvements where necessary. The review will be judge-led and forward looking and, whilst drawing on insights from the handling of allegations from recent operations, will not seek to reconsider past investigative or prosecutorial decisions or reopen historical cases. It will consider processes in the service police and Service Prosecuting Authority as well as considering the extent to which such investigations are hampered by potential barriers in the armed forces, for example, cultural issues or operational processes. A key part of the review will be its recommendations for any necessary improvements. It will seek to build upon and not reopen the recommendations of the service justice system review by HH Shaun Lyons and Sir Jon Murphy. Work by the Department in response to the service justice system review is continuing to be taken forward separately.

I expect the review will report to me in around nine months’ time.

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Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Culture Recovery Fund: Arts Funding

I am pleased to inform the House that yesterday we announced 1,385 cultural organisations will share over £257 million from the culture recovery fund to help support arts and culture organisations through the coronavirus pandemic.

This represents the biggest award to date of the culture recovery fund and means we have now provided over £360 million to support cultural and heritage institutions across England.

This vital Government funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.

These funds are supporting cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country—from the Beamish museum in County Durham to the Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Bristol Old Vic.

The theatre by the Lake, in Keswick, for example will receive over £800,000 in support which recognises its importance as the biggest employer in the area, the devastating impact coronavirus has had on it and theatres more widely, and the importance of safeguarding this wonderful cultural institution for the future.

Or, to take another example, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield: this cherished organisation will receive £804,000 to help the park to adapt its buildings to new regulations and help it reopen safely. Yorkshire Sculpture Park shows work by British and international artists including Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.

This is good news not only for these organisations but for towns, cities and workers in these sectors across the country—it will help to protect jobs and ensure our beloved local arts venue can remain afloat and support culture in many communities.

On top of this investment the culture sector has benefited from the job retention scheme, self-employment income support scheme, the bounce back loan scheme, a reduction in VAT from 20% to 5% for tourism and hospitality firms for six months.

I want to reaffirm that we recognise the crucial role that individuals play in making our arts and creative industries world-leading.

The culture recovery fund will benefit freelancers, because it will invest in organisations and help them to reopen, and restart performances which will provide more opportunities for freelancers to be engaged again.

It will also help many put on cultural activity within this financial year which would not have been possible without this funding.

Additionally, to complement this funding for organisations, this year, the Arts Council has made over £115 million of funding available for individuals, including freelancers, to apply to, including £18 million for the Developing Your Creative Practice programme which will open for applications this Thursday.

Regarding next steps, we are working flat out to support these sectors and to get the remainder of the funding and support out to those who need it most as quickly as possible.

There will be further announcements about hundreds of millions of pounds of allocations in the coming weeks to support the UK’s incredible culture, heritage, arts and creative industries.

The Government are here for culture. Help is on its way with more to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the cultural sector—the soul of our nation—can bounce back strongly.

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Education

Adult Skills and National Retraining Scheme

Today, I want to update both Houses on further policy developments we are making as part of our efforts to help boost productivity, ensure that businesses can find and hire the skilled workers they need, and help people to fulfil their potential. The impact of the current situation and the longer-term challenges we are likely to face have underlined the ever-present need to support all adults in gaining new skills that employers value, whether to progress in work or to boost their job prospects.

Last month, the Prime Minister visited Exeter College and set out an exciting vision to make lifelong learning a reality, announcing new opportunities to help more people to realise their talents, develop new skills and pursue their careers. With that broader vision in mind, wanting to reduce complexity in the adult skills landscape and recognising the need to work closely with a wide range of key stakeholders and experts, we are integrating the national retraining scheme into the national skills fund. The national retraining scheme will no longer continue as a separate programme but rather its work and learning will be rolled into the development of the national skills fund. This will be reflected in wider communications around the national skills fund and our broader offer for adult skills. It will include the conclusion of the trials of the Get Help to retrain service, a digital platform that helped adults identify their existing skills as well as new training options.

The findings we have gathered by testing Get help to retrain have already provided useful insights for the National Careers Service. This will help inform the further development of the National Careers Service website for people considering a change to their career.

The understanding and insights we achieved through high levels of research and comprehensive user engagement while developing the national retraining scheme have also produced a strong foundation for developing the national skills fund and other adult skills reforms. As both Houses know, the national skills fund is a long term, substantial investment of £2.5 billion—£3 billion included devolved Administrations—that will drive adult retraining and support our ambitious agenda for reform to further education.

Our engagement with employers on the national retraining scheme ensured we were better sighted on the skills they need their workers to have, as well as the need for a more flexible approach to the delivery of skills. Greater flexible provision was a clear need for both the employers and the individual. Both of these factors have been central to the design and delivery of the bootcamps announced in the Prime Minister’s speech, which are a key element of the national skills fund offer.

The bootcamps will support local regions and employers to fill in-demand digital vacancies. The impact of the covid crisis has shown that digital skills are in demand now more than ever, so these flexible initiatives will be instrumental in giving all adults the skills employers need. We are planning to expand the digital bootcamps to more of the country from spring 2021, and we also want to extend this model to include other technical skills training.

The Prime Minister also announced, as part of his lifetime skills guarantee, that for all adults who do not currently have an A-level equivalent, we will be fully funding their first full level 3, focusing on the valuable courses that will help them get ahead in the labour market.

Through our development of the national retraining scheme, we have also undertaken qualitative research into online training tailored for adults’ needs. Our findings have shown that online training has the ability to deliver learning at a time and pace that would fit in with the busy lives that users have. It could also reach the more remote areas of the country where users might struggle to access provision at a time that works best for them. This has informed the development of the skills toolkit, which has recently expanded to provide access to even more high-quality, free courses, to help all adults gain the confidence and skills they need to move into new jobs, potentially in completely new sectors of the jobs market.

We remain firmly committed to working with industry, workers, and providers. That is why we plan to engage extensively with these groups right across the country through the upcoming consultation on the national skills fund.

Our strong evidence base, delivered through the national retraining scheme, is summarised in a key findings paper that will be published today at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-retraining-scheme. The paper sets out how the extensive learnings and evidence from the scheme will support our ambitious plans for levelling up across the country and help to ensure everyone can get the skills they need, at every stage of their life.

We will set out wider plans for adult skills later in the autumn and we will update the Houses in due course. In the meantime, we will engage closely with stakeholders as we continue to develop detailed plans for the national skills fund, including considering what role the fund could play in meeting more immediate needs in response to the covid-19 pandemic.

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Housing, Communities and Local Government

Rough Sleeping

Today, I have announced additional support for rough sleepers this winter, giving local areas the tools they need to protect people from life-threatening cold weather and risks posed by covid-19.

During the pandemic, we have worked closely with local authorities and the sector to offer vulnerable people safe accommodation and support. That work is on- going and in September we had successfully supported over 29,000 people, with over 10,000 in emergency accommodation and nearly 19,000 provided with settled accommodation or move on support.

These efforts have been backed by significant Government support. We have given councils over £4.8 billion to help them to manage the impacts of covid-19, which we have been clear includes their work to support rough sleepers. Over the summer we worked with every local authority to develop a local, tailored plan to support rough sleepers over the coming months. This has been supported by £91.5 million of funding from the Next Steps Accommodation programme, allocated in September.

Today’s announcement further builds on this existing package of support over winter, setting out a plan that gives local areas a range of levers to support vulnerable rough sleepers as we approach winter.

First, there will be a new £10 million cold weather fund for local authorities to bring forward covid-secure accommodation this winter.

Secondly, we will be working intensively with the areas in greatest need, in recognition of the particular challenges they face.

Thirdly, recognising the vital role of the faith and communities sector, we are establishing a new £2 million transformation fund to ensure the voluntary sector can bring forward covid-secure accommodation.

Finally, we are publishing comprehensive guidance to the sector, produced with Public Health England, Homeless Link (the umbrella organisation for homelessness charities) and Housing Justice, to help them open shelters more safely, where not doing so would endanger lives. We know that some night shelters are planning to re-open imminently and our operating principles and additional funding package will help shelter providers and local authorities make any additional winter provision safer from the spread of covid-19.

Today’s announcement is on top of the £112 million rough sleeping initiative funding provided to local authorities in 2020-21, as well as the recently announced funding allocations to provide interim support and winter funding as part of the Next Steps Accommodation programme. We will also be bringing forward 3,300 longer-term units of accommodation this year. In total, the Government are spending over £700 million to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping this year alone. We remain committed to transforming the lives of some of the most vulnerable in society, and to ending rough sleeping for good.

In addition, the Government have injected over £9 billion into the welfare system, including helping people with housing costs by increasing local housing allowance rates to the 30th percentile—putting an average of £600 into people’s pockets this year. We have taken action to protect tenants and support them to stay in their homes. Most recently, we have increased notice periods to six months meaning that anyone served notice today can stay in their home until mid-March in all but the most egregious cases, such as those involving antisocial behaviour.

We will set out further detail about how local areas can access this winter funding and support imminently, and I encourage all relevant partners and local authorities to consider how they can best use this funding to save lives this winter.

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Transport

Space Industry Act 2018: Insurance and Liabiities

I am today publishing the consultation on the draft insurance, liabilities and charging requirements to implement the Space Industry Act 2018. This consultation seeks views on the operability and effectiveness of the proposed liabilities, insurance and charging requirements to implement the Space Industry Act 2018, including the use of licence conditions to cover insurance requirements. It also seeks views on the draft Space Industry (Liabilities) Regulations and the associated guidance documents, as well as to gather new evidence and test the assumptions in the consultation-stage impact assessment.

The UK’s space sector is a unique national asset, and this Government are committed to growing this exciting industry. Our regulatory framework for spaceflight will support safe and sustainable activities that will drive research, innovation and entrepreneurship in this vital sector, exploiting the unique environment of space, and providing a catalyst for growth across the space sector. Harnessing the opportunities provided by commercial spaceflight will also feed into our emerging national space strategy, the Government’s agenda to level-up the UK, and global Britain.

Government and industry have set a target to grow the UK’s share of the global market to 10% by 2030. To support this, our spaceflight programme aims to establish commercial vertical and horizontal small satellite launch, sub-orbital spaceflight and space tourism from UK spaceports. To expand the UK’s spaceflight capabilities, Government are funding a range of industry-led projects. Separately, we are investing in related facilities and technology. This will provide industry with new commercial market opportunities, grow our export share and help to build new UK supply chains.

Liabilities and insurance requirements

An important element of the Space Industry Act 2018 concerns operators’ liabilities arising from their spaceflight activity. Under UN space treaties, the UK Government are ultimately liable to pay compensation for damage caused by their space objects on the surface of the Earth or to aircraft in flight, and liable for damage due to its faults in space. This means that another state suffering damage can bring a claim against the UK Government under the UN space treaties. The Space Industry Act 2018 places an obligation on an operator carrying out spaceflight activities to indemnify the Government or listed person or body for any claims brought against them for loss or damage caused by those activities. It also includes liability provisions to provide the general public in the UK with easy recourse to compensation.

We recognise that this is an important issue for the UK space sector and understand that we need to create the right environment for the UK to be competitive and for our British companies to compete on the global stage. We have listened to the concerns industry has raised about liabilities and insurance and our consultation sets out approach to address those concerns, as well as other issues relating to insurance and liabilities. This follows a call for evidence on these matters published in March 2018.

We are proposing to limit operator liability and use the modelled insurance requirement approach, which is considered to be critical to enabling launch and unlocking the benefits of spaceflight.

The insurance proposals and liabilities regulations are part of the package of regulations needed to implement the Space Industry Act 2018 and to allow commercial spaceflight launches to take place from the UK. They supplement the consultation which was launched on 29 July 2020 on the draft Space Industry Regulations, which covers the other secondary legislation and guidance needed to enable commercial spaceflight in the UK.

Together with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the UK Space Agency and Civil Aviation Authority, we have legislated to allow for the regulation of a wide range of new commercial spaceflight technologies, including traditional vertically launched vehicles, air-launched vehicles and sub-orbital spaceplanes and balloons. It is our intention to merge the draft Liabilities and Space Industry Regulations once the consultations have concluded.

Next steps

The deadline for responses to the consultation is the 10 November, following which I will update the House and publish the Government’s response to the consultation.

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HS2 Six-monthly Report to Parliament

This Government have committed to provide an update to Parliament every six months on the progress of High Speed 2 (HS2), of which this is the first. This report covers data reported by HS2 Ltd to the end of August 2020.1 have placed a copy of the report in the Libraries of both Houses.

Overview

After careful consideration of the independent Oakervee review and wider evidence, including the National Audit Office’s (NAO’s) progress update, the Prime Minister confirmed to Parliament in February 2020 that the Government would proceed with HS2. The Government intend HS2 to become the spine of the country’s transport network, bringing our biggest cities closer together, boosting productivity and rebalancing the economy and opportunity for people across the country. It will also help meet our commitment to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, by providing a better alternative to regional air and road travel.

In taking this decision, the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Transport made clear the importance of a tighter grip by the Government on the delivery of the project and of the need for full transparency. That is why we have consulted the chairs of the Public Accounts Committee and Transport Select Committee in providing this report to Parliament, and I intend it to provide clear information about our progress.

In April, the full business case for the first phase of the scheme between the west midlands and London, HS2 phase 1, was approved with an increased budget and revised delivery into service date. This permitted HS2 Ltd’s main works civils contractors to begin construction of phase 1. I was delighted to see the Prime Minister mark this significant milestone officially by visiting Birmingham interchange a few weeks ago.

Authorising the main works signalled the Government’s commitment to invest in our economic recovery in response to covid. HS2 is central to our plans to build back better and will stimulate economic growth and rebalance opportunity across this country in the short, medium and long term.

HS2 phase 1 is just the first step in levelling-up our great economic regions and better connecting the north, the midlands and London. That is why we are progressing legislation to deliver phase 2a to provide a high speed line from the west midlands to Crewe, where trains will continue further north via the west coast main line. The phase 2a Bill is currently in the House of Lords. The Select Committee has finished hearing petitions and we await its report.

To deliver HS2 phase 2b and Northern Powerhouse Rail more effectively alongside other transport schemes, an integrated plan for rail in the north and the midlands is being developed. This will be informed by an assessment from the National Infrastructure Commission, expected at the end of 2020. The integrated rail plan will set out the form, scope and phasing of the phase 2b route. It will also inform decisions on how to improve links to and from Scotland to strengthen the connectivity of the Union.

Achievements in this first reporting period include:

Getting on with delivery by approving the phase 1 full business case and authorising the start of construction, supporting the industry and wider economy as part of the covid response. Indeed, HS2 Ltd and its supply chain supports over 13,000 jobs, including over 400 apprenticeships. At peak construction, this will increase to 30,000 jobs.

Getting a stronger grip on delivery to time and budget by establishing the ministerial task force for phases 1 and 2a, chaired by the Secretary of State for Transport, and attended by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, the Minister of State at the Cabinet Office, the Minister of State for Regional Growth and Local Government and myself. We have also strengthened the board of HS2 Ltd by appointing three additional non-executive directors.

Putting the people and communities impacted by the scheme at the centre of our work by reviewing the land and property acquisition programme, the approach to compensation and, importantly, how HS2 Ltd supports and engages with people along the route. The review will be published shortly.

Revisiting how best to deliver Euston station as recommended in the Oakervee review, with the aim of providing an improved design and better delivery strategy. This includes revised governance providing closer collaboration between HS2 Ltd and Network Rail, through the new Euston partnership board chaired by Sir Peter Hendy.

Developing the integrated rail plan for the north and midlands. This work focuses on reducing overall costs, identifying the correct schemes and sequencing to improve rail services and to determine how best to improve rail connectivity with Scotland. A separate ministerial task force is also overseeing preparation of the integrated rail plan.

Continuing the preparation of legislation for the phase 2b western leg into Manchester, reflecting the findings in the Oakervee review that phase 2b should be delivered in smaller sections with legislation brought forward as it is ready. This includes the design refinement consultation launched on 7 October. The integrated rail plan will set out the form, scope and phasing of the phase 2b route, across the western and eastern legs, and the Government will therefore consider responses to this consultation alongside the outcomes of the integrated rail plan.

Setting out our intent to establish enhanced reporting arrangements to demonstrate how HS2 Ltd is meeting the Government’s environmental priorities.

Programme update on affordability, schedule and delivery affordability

Earlier this year, the Government reset the funding regime for HS2, including a target cost and funding envelope for phase 1 and revised estimates for the wider scheme. The total funding envelope for phase 1 was set at £44.6 billion (2019 prices) and the estimated cost for completing the full network was revised to a range of £72 billion to £98 billion.

For phase 1, including Euston, HS2 Ltd projects an outturn cost at £40.3 billion (2019 prices) which is at the level of its target cost. This projection remains uncertain at this early stage in the project’s lifecycle, as with all major infrastructure projects, and does not yet reflect the impact of covid. HS2 Ltd is expected to provide its estimate of the covid impact within the next six months. Any cost changes will be contained within the funding envelope using the contingency already assigned.

Of the £40.3 billion, £9.6 billion has been spent to date, a further £11.5 billion is contracted, and £13.9 billion is yet to be contracted and remains an HS2 Ltd estimate. The target cost also includes available HS2 Ltd delegated contingency of £5.3 billion for managing the risk and uncertainty that are an inherent part of delivering major projects. HS2 Ltd is currently reporting cost pressures of £0.8 billion. If not successfully remediated, these pressures will be drawn against the company’s delegated contingency. These pressures are driven by:

Enabling works to prepare the line of route for construction. These have been underway since 2017 and in some areas have encountered more significant challenges than anticipated, such as the need to safely remove more asbestos than expected, resulting in increased scope and duration. These additional costs are likely to be in the order of £0.4 billion according to HS2 Ltd.

Euston station, where further development of the baseline scheme has identified a significant cost pressure, which HS2 Ltd is currently reporting as in the order of £0.4 billion. Further work is ongoing to validate these initial estimates and this could identify further pressure. As this remains at the design stage, work is under way to consider opportunities, efficiencies and scope reductions in order to redress these pressures and we will report further on this in the next report.

The total funding envelope for phase 1 remains at £44.6 billion (2019 prices). This includes further available contingency of £4.3 billion over and above that delegated to HS2 Ltd, which is retained by the Department for Transport and Her Majesty’s Treasury. I am determined to carefully scrutinise the use of contingency to ensure that it is sufficient to cover issues that may emerge later in the project and will provide updates to Parliament through these reports.

The overall phase 2a cost is currently estimated as in the range of £5-7 billion (2019 prices). This remains in line with the estimate set out at the time of the Prime Minister’s announcement on 11 February and the NAO update of January 2020. Firmer ranges and a target cost will be confirmed, subject to the scheme being approved by Parliament and based on the scope and undertakings in the Act.

Updated cost estimates will be provided for the phase 2b links to Manchester and Leeds once the integrated rail plan is concluded. At this stage, ongoing design work suggests some further pressure on the most recent estimates but this depends in part on decisions on the route and sequencing, as well as decisions about the appropriate level of contingency to provide at this stage. We will provide further information as this work matures including as part of preparing legislation for the HS2 route from Crewe into Manchester.

Schedule

On phase 1, the delivery into service (DIS) range for initial services from Old Oak Common to Birmingham Curzon Street remains 2029 to 2033. HS2 Ltd continues to predict that it will provide services within this range but notes some pressures on the earliest date from covid impacts and delayed handovers from enabling works, which it is seeking to mitigate. Schedule estimates will be more reliable once the main works are fully mobilised next summer and once the rail systems elements have been contracted.

The overall response to covid by HS2 Ltd and its construction partners has been positive with the rapid implementation of safe working practices to protect the public and workers and the reopening of the majority of sites after a safety review. However, some works have been delayed and at some sites covid-safe practices have necessarily reduced productivity to a limited degree.

The range for initial opening of services from Euston remains 2031-2036, subject to further work on the study of design and delivery options.

Schedule ranges for phases 2a and 2b will be established once their scopes are finalised.

Delivery progress

The main works civils contractors are currently taking possession of sites along the line of route on phase 1 and mobilising their workforces and equipment, including the delivery of tunnel boring machines. Significant works are already under way at several sites.

The three other phase 1 stations, Birmingham Curzon Street, Birmingham interchange and Old Oak Common, have now received schedule 17 planning consents. Procurement is under way for the construction of Curzon Street and interchange stations and design refinement is underway at Old Oak Common ahead of approving the start of construction.

The procurement of rail systems packages for track, catenary, power, control and communications systems has begun. Contracts for two packages, slab track and cross passage doors, have been awarded. The procurement of the rolling stock supplier continues and will be awarded in the summer of next year.

The timeline to achieve Royal Assent of the phase 2a Bill by the end of the year is challenging, but remains feasible subject to Parliament’s will.

As noted above, preparations are now under way for a hybrid Bill for the western leg of phase 2b (Crewe to Manchester). A consultation on design refinements to support future use of HS2 infrastructure as part of Northern Powerhouse Rail was launched on 7 October. At the same time a route wide update, decisions on changes previously consulted in 2019, and revised property safeguarding were published for the western leg.

Community and environmental impact

Since my appointment as Minister for HS2, I have sought to increase the focus on managing HS2’s impact on communities along the line of route and on the natural environment.

Securing the land and property needed to construct the line of route across all phases is vital to the programme’s success and is often the first impact that we have on line of route communities. A range of statutory and non-statutory property compensation schemes are available that seek to compensate affected parties fairly while protecting the public purse.

Our policy is to provide fair compensation for those directly and indirectly impacted but the process and disputes for claims can inevitably be traumatic for some. I therefore commissioned a detailed review of the acquisition and compensation process to ensure that there is a renewed focus on those who are being impacted by the new railway. The report will be published shortly and we will move to consult where appropriate on the proposed reforms.

Some £3.6 billion has now been spent acquiring land and property and in the order of 1,250 properties have been acquired to date across the three phases of HS2. The majority of this is from phase 1 where £3.3 billion has been spent to date.

I want to make sure that HS2 Ltd and its contractors are as sensitive as possible to the impact of construction on communities where impacts will unfortunately be unavoidable. HS2 Ltd needs to ensure that communities are properly informed and consulted and that the impacts are minimised to the extent that is reasonable. I intend to engage closely with Members of Parliament and the communities that they represent and ensure HS2 Ltd is meeting the terms of its planning consents.

I also intend to increase our efforts to limit the impact of HS2 on the natural environment and to ensure its construction and operation is as low carbon as possible.

In the coming months, HS2 Ltd will establish a new environmental sustainability committee (as a sub- committee of the HS2 Ltd board), led by its Chair, Allan Cook. This committee will be charged with strengthening environmental sustainability reporting including the development and publication of an environmental sustainability report. HS2 Ltd intends to publish the first report next year.

HS2 Ltd has been working with Natural England over the summer to enhance plans to support delivery of the route wide, “no net loss to biodiversity” target. Following Royal Assent of the phase 2a Bill, HS2 Ltd will continue to explore opportunities to enhance its existing no net loss objective for that phase of the programme. It will identify and implement appropriate opportunities, where it is reasonably practicable, to move towards net gains in biodiversity. This will be supported by a £2 million biodiversity fund.

HS2 Ltd is also working in partnership with local communities to create new woodlands, diverse habitats and community green spaces beyond the construction boundary. Funding provided through the phase 1 £40 million community and environment fund and the business and local economy fund has seen over 126 projects awarded funding of over £7.7 million.

Forward look

For phase 1, the focus for the coming year will see the continued mobilisation of the phase 1 construction programme and commencement of civil engineering and tunnelling activities alongside further contract awards for stations, rolling stock and systems. I will continue to focus on the control of schedule and cost, while implementing the reforms on land and property acquisition, managing the impact of construction on local communities, and improving environmental performance and reporting.

Subject to Parliament’s will, the phase 2a Bill will continue through its final legislative stages to secure authority for construction of the route to Crewe and northern destinations via the west coast main line.

We will continue to define the scope and scheme for phase 2b as part of the work to conclude the integrated rail plan and to prepare a hybrid Bill for the western leg from Crewe to Manchester.

I will continue to engage closely with Members of Parliament and will provide my next report to Parliament in April 2021.

Annex A: Period Financial Report 1

Forecast costs by phase

Phase

Target cost

Total estimated costs range

Current forecast

1

£40.3 billion

£35-45 billion

£40.3 billion

2a

Not set yet

£5-7 billion

Not agreed

2b

Not set yet

£32-46 billion 2

Not agreed

Historic and forecast expenditure

Phase

Spend to date

2020-21 Budget

2020-21 Forecast

1

£9.6 billion 3

£3.79 billion

£3.46 billion

2a

£0.4 billion

£0.18 billion

£0.16 billion

2b

£1.0 billion

£0.25 billion

£0.23 billion

Total

£11.0 billion

£4.22 billion

£3.85 billion

1 All figures in 2019 prices and excluding VAT. Correct as of 31 August 2020.

2 Validation of the phase 2b cost range is ongoing and will be updated to support the bringing forward of separate legislation for the HS2 route into Manchester, in line with the conclusions of the Oakervee review. The range provided excludes scope intended to be funded by other sources such as Northern Powerhouse Rail.

3 Spend to date includes a £1 billion liability (provision) representing the Department’s obligation to purchase land and property.

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