At Prime Minister’s Questions today (15th November 2023), Michael Fabricant questioned the Prime Minister on two topics: the state of the west midlands economy and the need for speed in completing HS2 around Lichfield and providing compensation to his constituents.
Michael first asked: “What assessment has the Prime Minister made of recent trends in economic growth in the West Midlands?”
The Prime Minister replied: “I’m sure my Hon Friend will be delighted that the West Midlands now tops regional rankings for foreign direct investment. The Government is also significantly investing in the region, including hundreds of millions of pounds for Levelling Up and Towns Fund investments and introducing a new pilot scheme to help businesses in the region become more energy efficient.”
Michael replied: “I thank my Rt Hon Friend for that encouraging answer. On behalf of my constituents in Lichfield, I thank him for having the guts to actually stop HS2.
“But can I ask that the area within my constituency in the north, where construction is still going on, that this is completed swiftly, and that for those areas which are not now going to have HS2, compensation is also made swiftly to those people who are expecting it?”
The Prime Minister answered: “I thank my Hon Friend for his question and for his consistent campaigning on this issue, and I recall his last Prime Minister’s Question on this very topic. I’d like to reassure him that we are committed to fair treatment for people affected by the changes, whilst also protecting taxpayers appropriately.
“Wherever property has been acquired for HS2, property owners have been fully compensated and any outstanding cases will be settled. We are developing a programme to sell the surplus land on HS2 Phase Two and ensure that it delivers value for money, does not disrupt local property markets, and I will ensure that the Rail Minister meets with him swiftly on behalf of his constituents.”
Michael now adds: “I know that farmers and landowners are still waiting for compensation. And where constituents have recently sold land or property and it is not now needed by HS2, I am keen that it be offered back to its previous owners for the same price for which it was sold. Meanwhile, where work goes on around Lichfield, it is important that this be completed as swiftly as possible so life can return to normal and roads and footpaths reopened.”