HS2 section to be delayed by two years to save money
Construction of the Birmingham to Crewe leg of HS2 will be delayed by two years, the UK Transport Secretary has announced as part of cost-saving measures that threaten to deliver a blow to “levelling up” plans.
Mark Harper also set out delays for services running to Euston in central London, as he instead focuses on initial services between Old Oak Common in the capital’s western suburbs.
The high-speed line was due for extension between Birmingham and Crewe between 2030 and 2034 to help boost transport in the north of England.
But Mr Harper said he was instead “prioritising” the initial services between Old Oak Common in London and Birmingham Curzon Street, as he also announced setbacks to key road projects.
In a written ministerial statement, Mr Harper insisted that the Government is “committed” to delivering the high-speed rail link between Birmingham and Crewe.
But he added: “We have seen significant inflationary pressure and increased project costs, and so we will rephase construction by two years, with an aim to deliver high-speed services to Crewe and the North West as soon as possible after accounting for the delay in construction.”
Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said the North is “yet again being asked to pay the price for staggering Conservative failure”.
“Tens of thousands of jobs and billions in economic growth are dependent on this project,” the Labour MP said.
“This is the biggest project in Europe and delays pile costs up in the long-run – ministers now need to come clean on precisely how much their indecision will cost taxpayers and the North.”
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