HS2 now set to cost £60BILLION of taxpayer money after budget explodes AGAIN
Published: 27/01/2023- 11:44
Updated: 14/02/2023- 10:20
HS2 is now set to cost taxpayers £60billion as costs surge again, it has emerged.
The high speed rail project has been beleaguered by delays and escalating costs ever since it was first proposed in 2009.
A two to five-year delay to the entire project was also reportedly being considered.
With rising industry costs, insiders say inflation will mean the cost of HS2 will likely hit £60billion.
Last week, the Department for Transport warned of “tough decisions” for the scheme in the coming weeks following emergency talks with HS2 directors.
“There are a number of options for getting the costs down and none of them are very nice,” one ex-HS2 employee told the Sun.
Highspeed railway HS2 is set to cost £60billion
“Either you scrap Euston, or you have to slow down the whole project and hope inflation comes down.”
It follows reports that a cost-cutting measure on the infrastructure project could see the north-south railway route terminate in a west London suburb.
Reports suggested that soaring inflation would mean the railway would not run to Euston until 2038 or could even be scrapped completely.
However, speaking this morning, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said he did not see “any conceivable circumstances” in which HS2 would not run to its planned Euston terminus.
Following his Bloomberg speech, Hunt was asked whether ministers were committed to HS2 going “all the way to Euston”, he replied: “Yes we are.
“And I don’t see any conceivable circumstances in which that would not end up at Euston. And indeed I prioritised HS2 in the autumn statement.
“We have not got a good record in this country of delivering complex, expensive infrastructure quickly, but I’m incredibly proud that, for the first time in this last decade, under a Conservative government, we have shovels in the ground building HS2 and we’re going to make it happen.”
Growing concerns suggested that trains would instead stop a new hub at Old Oak Common in West London’s suburbs.
High-speed services were already due to temporarily start and end at Old Oak Common following complexities around Euston.
Passengers using the flagship high speed project linking the capital to the Midlands and the North would have needed to use the Elizabeth line to travel to and from central London.
Reports suggested that HS2 could terminate at West London's Old Oak Common
Labour peer Lord Berkeley, who in 2019 was deputy chairman of a review into HS2 commissioned by then-prime minister Boris Johnson, believes the entire project should be scrapped.
He said: “The alternative in the news this morning is using Old Oak Common as a terminal station, which would work for half the number of trains that they want with a bit of redesign, but it wouldn’t do the lot.
“There’s not enough space for it so they couldn’t do it except maybe a shuttle service from Birmingham.
“What’s the point of building HS2 just to get to Birmingham? I think the whole thing should be cancelled.”
HS2 has faced criticism over its financial and environmental impact.
The high-speed train was originally intended to connect London with Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds – but the leg to Leeds has since been scrapped.
An initial budget of £55.7billion for the whole of HS2 was set in 2015, however this was made before the Leeds leg was cancelled.