Es­ca­lat­ing bud­get could be put to bet­ter use, cam­paign­ers claim

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by Jack Abell jack.abell@trin­i­tymir­ Twit­ter: @Jack­_84_A­bell

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

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