HS2 'on track' after Commons vote

Reports that the High Speed Two (HS2) rail project is 'on track' after MPs voted in favour of an interim funding package to allow the government to buy land and compensate property owners affected by the scheme feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Financial Times (subscription) reports that only 34 MPs voted against the funding package with 350 in favour. The newspaper says that the transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the question about HS2 had "now moved from if to when".

The Independent reports that a Tory rebellion against the scheme "faded" with just 18 Conservatives voting against approving the funding. But it says that the "crucial test will come next spring when legislation giving the go-ahead to HS2 comes before Parliament".
 
The Guardian says that shadow transport secretary, Mary Creagh, said she was proud to support HS2 which is "Labour's brainchild". The newspaper says that Creagh told MPs: "It is we, the opposition, who are the true friends of HS2 and this government who have put it at risk. We will continue our scrutiny of these costs and our discipline on the public finances." The remarks by Creagh "appeared to offer a definitive clarification of Labour's position on HS2 after the shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, seemed last month to question the party's support for the project", the newspaper says.

The Times (subscription) reports that a law firm has criticised the government’s plans to "slash" the number of judicial reviews. The newspaper says that "in a searing attack" Leigh Day solicitors said the changes were a "politically motivated attempt by ministers to insulate their decisions from challenge". The newspaper says the government claims the move is necessary "to help to speed-up planning decisions and boost economic growth".

The Financial Times (subscription) reports that chancellor George Osborne is considering taxing foreign investors cashing in on London’s booming property market. The newspaper says that Osborne is looking at "ways to generate revenue from the property boom in certain parts of London".



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