Redditch MP backs contentious HS2

House of Commons: second HS2 reading took place on Monday night.

House of Commons: second HS2 reading took place on Monday night.

First published in Local

REDDITCH MP Karen Lumley has stuck her neck out in support of the HS2 superfast rail project - saying it is good for Redditch, good for the West Midlands and good for Britain.

Mrs Lumley said that the controversial £50bn scheme will bring great benefit to local constituents and the region as well as to the wider economy.

The government's bill paving the way for the north-south railway cleared its second reading in parliament on Monday night by 451 votes to 50.

However, there were a number of Tories who voted against the legislation, plus many more who missed the vote – in effect, abstaining.

Speaking during the debate Mrs Lumley said: "It is no secret that I support the Government on the issue of high-speed rail, because I believe it will be good for Redditch, good for the West Midlands and good for Britain as a whole.

"In the past 20 years, the number of journeys made on Britain’s rail network has doubled. Capacity on the West Coast Main Line will be nearly full by the early 2020s and, as a regular traveller on that line, I know how essential the service is for many commuters.

"High-speed rail will increase capacity across existing lines so that local commuter trains can run more frequently and with enough seats for passengers, allowing the wider west midlands area to fulfil its economic potential.

"The ever-increasing gap between infrastructure spending in the south and the rest of the country is widening the economic divide. HS2 is also about rebalancing our economy. Investment in HS2 will deliver widespread connectivity improvements, grow markets and increase opportunities to trade."

Earlier this month Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin admitted that legislation needed to build the high-speed rail project would not become law before the next general election in 2015.

The Government says once complete it will reduce journey times from Birmingham to the capital to just 40 minutes.

But the Labour Party has refused to back it, saying it cannot sign a "blank cheque" for the project due to concerns over the estimated costs.

The Government has put £14 billion aside to avoid getting into a financial mess if the bill spirals, but future delays could see it go further.

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