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HS2 is a £42.6 billion project to build a high speed rail line from London to Manchester and Leeds, via Birmingham, the East Midlands, Sheffield and Crewe, to begin operation in 2026 and be completed in 2032. It was supported by the Labour Government after 2009 and has had the support of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government since May 2010.

In the 2013 Queen’s Speech the Government announced a ‘paving bill’ to authorise further spending on preparation for the HS2 project. The Government estimates that since 2009 it has spent upwards of a quarter of a billion pounds developing HS2.

On 25 November 2013 the Government intends to publish the first Hybrid Bill to authorise the construction of Phase 1 of HS2 (from London to Birmingham).

This note summarises the Parliamentary stages of the paving bill through to Royal Assent on 21 November 2013.

The broader policy issues to do with HS2 are examined in two papers:

• HC Library note SN316, which takes forward the HS2 debate from January 2012; and

• HC Library Research Paper RP 11/75 which describes the scheme prior to that point and the extensive debates about its value or otherwise [published 17 November 2011].


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