IS PROJECT COST SET TO RISE FURTHER?
Escalating budget could be put to better use, campaigners claim
CAMPAIGNERS against HS2 are expecting the cost of the project to rise in this week’s Autumn Statement.
Until now, the official price of the first phase of the development, which links London and Birmingham, stands at £21.4bn.
But protesters say they believe the Autumn Statement, given as this paper went to press yesterday (Wednesday), will reveal a rise to £30bn.
They also think the second part of the project, connecting Birmingham with the north, will rise from the current £21.2bn.
Last week it was reported that government sources are predicting the overall cost of the entire project will likely be between £70bn and £80bn and not the predicted total of £50.1bn.
Protesters say against these rising costs, they expect the government will officially announce a Hybrid Bill for part of the second phase of the project will be deposited as soon as the phase one bill receives Royal Assent.
They believe costs will rise due to the fact that other rail projects in the UK have gone over budget, and that the escalating price of HS2 is likely to lead to cuts elsewhere.
Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin said: “HS2 is abysmal value for money and against a backdrop of further cuts to public services, the increasingly dogmatic support for this white elephant and its spiralling costs is completely unfathomable.
“There are very many people who rely on things which Mr Osborne is willing to cut who will find a ballooning HS2 budget very hard to stomach.
“With trains not due to run for over another decade, who knows where the cost of this vanity project will end up and what else will have to be cut to pay for it?
“A responsible chancellor would be asking serious questions about whether HS2 is really worth it.”
Stop HS2 chairman Penny Gaines added: “The government should make the decision to cancel HS2.
“There are far better uses for the money, which will have far better long and short term results.”
Escalating costs?: Anti HS2 campaigner Joe Rukin believes an increase is
on the cards