Lee Anderson Column: Rail plan will be cheaper and earlier than original HS2 bid

Last week, the Prime Minister unveiled the Integrated Rail Plan which has finally put to bed all the rumours about HS2.

Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 4:00 pm

I have always been quite clear on my position on HS2 and that is I would have voted against it had I been in Parliament at the time.

The eastern leg has now been cancelled, which would have seen HS2 come through the edge of Ashfield, causing major disruption and having an impact on wildlife.

On the plus side, our £96 billion IRP for the North and the Midlands will instead deliver ‘faster’ train journeys earlier and cheaper than the original HS2 plans.

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Lee Anderson, Ashfield MP.

Even better news is the Maid Marian Line will see passenger services return to Selston and a new station at King’s Mill Hospital is also in the plan for consideration.

At least now we have certainty and the Prime Minister said in the foreword of the IRP: “In my discussions on HS2 last year, I was struck by what one of my Parliamentary colleagues, Lee Anderson MP, told me: that his constituents in Ashfield would have to watch the high-speed trains go through at 200mph without stopping when what they really wanted was a decent bus service to the next town.”

The Prime Minister listened to the point I made and, although HS2 has now been stopped coming through Ashfield, there are still billions of pounds that will now be invested in creating better local infrastructure that will mean more higher skilled jobs and money in the local economy.

I said before the election that having an MP in Ashfield that can sit down with the PM and make a serious point would have more impact than an Independent or Labour MP who supported HS2.

Lee Anderson says the £96bn Integrated Rail Plan for the north and the Midlands will deliver ‘faster’ train journeys for less money than HS2 would have.

I always felt the odd one out with my opinion on HS2, but still think I am right, and this week’s mailbag certainly backs that up.

Last week, I returned to the kitchen at Sutton Centre College with chef Dave Marshall, Brendan Clarke-Smith MP, Marco Longhi MP and Matt Vickers MP. The challenge was to make enough meals to feed a family of five for a week on £50.

I went to Aldi with schoolchildren and spent £50.24 under the watchful eye of Dave. We managed to produce 175 meals. It takes 105 meals to feed a family of five so we were over the target and it wasn’t just the same meal, it was five different nutritious meals. This is a great initiative I’ve been working on with the academy trust and local foodbank, where we try to help people gain skills to cook healthy meals on a budget.