PM vows to 'end uncertainty' over Staffordshire HS2 compensation payouts
Boris Johnson has vowed to "end the uncertainty" for people in Staffordshire whose lives have been disrupted by HS2.
The Prime Minister said he would press ahead as soon as possible with "generous" compensation payouts for people impacted by the line, which is set to pass through 45 miles of the county.
He was challenged on the issue by Staffordshire MPs, who raised concerns over their constituents having had the threat of compulsory purchase orders to make way for HS2 hanging over them for years.
Mr Johnson gave the controversial line the green light this week, despite ongoing concerns over its out-of-control budget – which is expected to surge past £100 billion – and damage to the environment and wildlife.
Addressing the PM in the Commons, Stafford Conservative MP Theo Clarke, who has raised individual compensation cases with Transport Minister Paul Maynard, said the announcement had "ended uncertainty for those who wanted HS2".
She added: "Will the Prime Minister also end uncertainty for my constituents in Stafford who have waited years for their houses to be bought and for compensation to be paid?"
Mr Johnson said in response: "I will do just that, and I apologise to everybody for the uncertainty that has been involved."
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Phase 2a – the section of HS2 which passes through the county on its way to Crewe – is set to go ahead as planned, with Stafford and Stoke stations served by high speed trains switching to the West Coast Mainline via a junction at Handsacre, near Lichfield.
Michael Fabricant, the Conservative MP for Lichfield, said he was "bitterly disappointed" that the Government had decided to proceed with the line, describing the current plans for HS2 as "a missed opportunity" to improve the line and make it more environmentally friendly and cheaper.
He told the PM it was "important that we compensate well those people in my constituency – and in his [Mr Johnson’s] – who will be affected by it".
In response Mr Johnson confirmed that compensation to those affected by HS2 should be "generous".
Mr Johnson is set to appoint a new HS2 minister in a bid to ensure the line's costs are reined in. He has also vowed an overhaul of HS2 Ltd, the company responsible for project, accusing the firm of "poor management".