‘Abysmal value for money'

Au­tumn state­ment re­veals es­ti­mated cost now at £55.7 bil­lion

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - by Jack Abell jack.abell@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @jack­_84_a­bell

THE of­fi­cial cost of HS2 has risen to £55.7bn, ac­cord­ing to Ge­orge Os­borne’s Au­tumn State­ment.

Un­til the Au­tumn State­ment, de­liv­ered on Wed­nes­day, Novem­ber 25, the of­fi­cial cost of the con­struc­tion of HS2 had been given as £42.6bn in 2011 prices, with a fur­ther £7.5bn added for the cost of trains.

This means that there has been an in­crease of £5.6bn, or 11 per cent, making the fig­ure for the over­all cost of HS2 al­most dou­ble the orig­i­nal es­ti­mate pub­lished in 2010.

Para­graph 2.85 of the Au­tumn State­ment says: ““Con­struc­tion will be­gin on HS2 dur­ing the Par­lia­ment, and the Spend­ing Re­view con­firms a fund­ing en­ve­lope of £55.7 bil­lion in 2015 prices, which will de­liver HS2 from Lon­don to Birm­ing­ham by 2026, and to Leeds and Manch­ester by 2033.”

Mr Os­borne also said that along with HS2, the Great Western, Trans Pen­nine and Mid­land Main­line elec­tri­fi­ca­tion projects can go ahead, which have them­selves all been hit by cost over runs in the past.

Stop HS2 cam­paign man­ager Joe Rukin said: “HS2 is abysmal value for money, and the in­creas­ingly dog­matic sup­port for this white ele­phant and its’ spi­ralling costs is com­pletely un­fath­omable.

“A 31% in­crease in the pro­jected costs for con­struc­tion is shame­ful af­ter prom­ises that the costs would be kept un­der con­trol, but it is just an­other in a long line of HS2 cost hikes, and there will be more to come.”

Penny Gaines, chair­man of Stop HS2 said: “HS2 is clearly a white ele­phant. Trans­port in the North does need im­prove­ment, but it isn’t the links to Lon­don which are hold­ing back the economies of the North. It’s the abil­ity to cross the Pen­nines, it’s get­ting into city cen­tres from lo­cal towns.

“This is where the money needs spend­ing on trans­port, not on one big showy rail­way line.”

What do you think of the in­crease in costs? Email our let­ters page at buck­snews@trin­i­tysouth.co.uk.

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