The Leighton-Linslade branch of the Labour Party has come out in favour of HS2.
Branch secretary, Keith Minor said: “We were worried about the national debate failing to recognise the need for improved local and freight services on the West Coast Mainline.
“There is an alternative view that other issues are more important and so we debated the issue at our January meeting.
“After hearing many different arguments the overwhelming decision was that the Leighton-Linslade branch should support the scheme.”
Adding that the country needs greater rail capacity, Mr Minor said: “If we do not build HS2, the upgrade of the West Coast Rail Line to create just some of the necessary extra capacity would entail several years of disruption to services. A new railway, however, will treble the number of seats on trains into Euston and almost double the number of trains per hour on the West Coast Main Line. Leighton Buzzard commuters will clearly benefit.
“HS2 will also free up more of the existing track for freight trains, and reduce the need for more lorries on our roads.
“The construction of HS2 will improve our transport infrastructure, will create jobs, and will stimulate economic growth. It is also seen as a means of rebalancing the economy, bringing more growth to the Midlands and the North.
“Local Labour Party members felt that the economic stimulus that the line would bring to Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield was so important that the branch strongly urged that the northern sections are built at the same time as the southern section.”
The cost of building HS2 featured a lot in the debate. Members recognised that significant sums will need to be spent, and some believed that the money would be better spent in different ways. The argument was also made that the spending would be spread over several years, and that as much, if not more, has been spent over the years on road building, with a mile of new motorway costing £29. 9 million.
At the conclusion of the debate, members approved the following motion: “This branch is in favour of building HS2 and we strongly urge that the northern and southern sections are built at the same time”.