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High-speed Rail: Hull to Liverpool

Volume 700: debated on Thursday 9 September 2021

8. By what date he plans to implement fully electrified high speed rail on all routes (a) into Hull and (b) between Liverpool and Hull. (903267)

November will mark five years since Conservative Ministers blocked a £94 million privately financed scheme to electrify 70 miles of rail track between Selby and Hull. There are still no guarantees of a date for Hull rail electrification, and there are reports that the section of High-Speed 2 that would most directly affect and benefit east Yorkshire is being scaled back or even totally shelved. Last week Ministers announced £78 million for electrifying 13 miles of line between Wigan and Bolton, with the reason given being the economic case for that upgrade. The economic case for an upgrade in Hull is even stronger, with our energy estuary and freeport status. What exactly do Conservative Ministers have against Hull and the east Yorkshire area?

We have delivered almost 700 single-track miles of electrification over the past three years, and we continue to expand the electrified rail network. That compares with just 63 miles in 13 years of the last Labour Government. Therefore we will take no lessons from the Labour party on electrification.

If Hull, Immingham and the Humber ports are to benefit from their freeport status, it is vital that we have a rail freight corridor between the Humber ports and the west coast. What progress is being made in that respect?

We recognise the importance of rail freight, and of supporting all the newly announced freeports. I know that the rail Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Daventry (Chris Heaton-Harris), will be happy to meet my hon. Friend.