Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - HS2 is one of many vital investments UK needs (From This Is Wiltshire)
Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - HS2 is one of many vital investments UK needs
12:00pm Thursday 31st October 2013 in News
Today a HS2 Bill will be debated in Westminster and given that this is one of the most important investments for a generation, I thought it would be worth explaining why I support the Bill.
Putting aside the emotional appeal of the project– it is amazing that the UK, the country that invented railways, has fewer miles of high speed track than Saudi Arabia and Morocco – for me, HS2 is a vital investment in Britain’s future.
It will deliver direct annual benefits for the economy of up to £15bn as a result of faster journeys and reduced crowding (the cost benefit analysis of the project means that for every pound spent, £2.30 will be delivered in benefits) and it will help ensure that economic growth occurs all across the UK, not just in the over-crowded South East.
I have personally never understood the argument that all this will do is make the country more London-centric given the house price differences across regions – if you could live in the Midlands or the North and commute rapidly and smoothly to a job in London, would you not be tempted?
But the case is not just about speed, but capacity and this is a long-term solution to a long-term problem. Without HS2, many main lines are likely to be overwhelmed but with the new investment, we can be transform intercity travel, radically improve commuter services and increase the amount of freight that our rail network can accommodate. I am also persuaded by the fact that HS2 will be a huge boost for the UK construction industry with more than 24,000 direct jobs created and the vast majority of contracts all along the supply chain going to UK firms. Of course, this must not be the only investment made in our long-neglected transport infrastructure and I am reassured that the government is also planning to spend to invest £73bn in this area between 2015 and 2021: £15bn on major roads (a tripling of the budget) £22.5bn on the classic rail network (including the electrification to Bedwyn that we have been fighting for); £6bn for London Transport; and £13.5bn for local authority projects.
Locally, this week saw us moving into the heart of the Pewsey Vale and it is such a relief to finally be able to call my constituency “home”. I look forward to seeing even more of my constituents when I am out and about and this Saturday I will be popping into the monthly Rushall and Charlton village coffee morning – please do come along for a chat and a cuppa!
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