The High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill will provide parliamentary authority for essential expenditure to proceed with the High Speed 2 (HS2), and will also authorise expenditure on construction design, environmental surveys, and other preparatory work. This bill will also authorise similar spending on future phases of the network and will require the government to publically disclose expenditure on HS2.

The government says the introduction of the preparatory bill would provide the financial powers required to proceed with the project more quickly than previously envisaged and provide parliamentary authority for expenditure on property compensation.

The bill is also intended to pave the way for the main Hybrid Bill, which will go before parliament as scheduled in October. The Hybrid Bill would grant the government the necessary legal powers to build, operate, and maintain the railway, including provision for compulsory land acquisition. If the bill becomes law, which is expected by 2015, it will allow civil works to begin on the initial 190km London –Birmingham/Lichfield phase in 2017.