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Cameron calls for £50bn cost of HS2 to be cut

4th Nov 13 9:43 am

David Cameron is calling for the new chief of High Speed 2 (HS2) to reduce the £50bn cost of the project.

The Prime Minister will tell the CBI Conference in London today that delaying a decision on HS2 will hold back Britain’s economic growth.

The high-speed rail line is yet to receive cross-party approval, but last week MPs approved funding for the project.

Sir David Higgins, former CEO of the Olympic Delivery Authority and Network Rail boss, was named in September as the new boss of HS2.

“Fortune favours the bold, not the weak and indecisive,” Cameron will say.

He will say: “Britain is in a global race for jobs and wealth. Our infrastructure is decades out of date and we urgently need to invest and build

“Those who want to delay or obstruct HS2 show a lack of vision.

“They are playing politics with Britain’s prosperity. They are betraying everyone north of Watford. And they want to condemn Britain to the slow lane.”

Update: LondonlovesBusiness.com LIVE from the CBI Conference

Cameron has said that the government will “drive every bit of cost out of [HS2] that we can.”

Deviating slightly from his anticipated remarks detailed above, Cameron told the CBI Conference in London that he is confident that new HS2 boss Sir David Higgins will “do a good job and make it affordable for our country”.

The Prime Minister said he is “passionate” about HS2.

“We need to build new railway lines in our country,” he said, highlighting the overcrowding on key lines and describing how “our fellow countrymen are standing” on trains.

“So do we build old Victorian lines or do we build new [lines like HS2]? The cost difference is 9%,” he said.

He added that HS2 will join eight of the UK’s 10 major cities.

The Prime Minister said that between 2015 and 2020 the government will spend three times the amount it plans to spend on HS2 on roads and other infrastructure projects.

The government plans to spend £16bn on HS2 between 2015 and 2020, of a total £50bn cost, which may be reduced.

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