It has been reported that the government could announce that HS2 could be suspended to cut costs which has been heavily criticised over the firm’s finances.
In 2015 there was a budget of £55.7 billion, this has now risen to more than £70 billion due to the “significant” impact of inflation and steep costs for building materials.
The BBC reported that it could primarily only affect the high-speed railway between Birmingham and Crewe and Crewe and Manchester.
Last week the House of Commons was told by Rail Minister Huw Merriman that the government are “committed” to delivering HS2, however there are “cost pressures” which has to be investigated further.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said, “You will know there’s work already under way on HS2.
“Equally the rail minister has been clear we’re continuing to look at any cost pressures and ensure the project delivers value for money for taxpayers.”
HS2 Ltd chief executive Mark Thurston told the BBC, “We’re looking at the timing of the project, the phasing of the project, we’re looking at where we can use our supply chain to secure a lot of those things that are costing us more through inflation.”
Andy Bagnall, chief executive for rail industry lobby group Rail Partners, said, “While inflationary pressures make infrastructure projects more challenging, it is critical for Britain’s economy and meeting net zero targets that large sections of HS2 are not delayed, which will ultimately increase the overall cost.
“We must address industry financial challenges across infrastructure and operations head on – not focusing solely on cost reduction, but also on driving revenues to close the financial gap and reduce the railway’s reliance on taxpayer funding.”
Tory MP Simon Clarke who is the former Chief Secretary to the Treasury said, “Having observed
HS2’s progress as chief secretary, I have serious doubts as to value for money and cost control.”
Michael Fabricant, asked if the delay “marks the end of HS2 north of Birmingham” and the “damage” which has done in Staffordshire will be repaired.
Fabricant said, Simply saying the project is delayed is not good enough.
“This project with the backing of Labour and the Lib Dems should never have gone ahead in the first place.
“Covid has encouraged remote working and even now regular rail commutes are down by 40% on pre-Covid levels.
“The Government are well aware this makes the business case for HS2 even less convincing than it was in the first place.”